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Jane Darby

Remembering Oscar de la Renta: Biography

The fashion world mourns the loss of veteran fashion designer Oscar de la Renta who passed away at the age of 84 after a battle with cancer. 
Every American First Lady from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama has worn his designs and he had won every fashion award around; been honored by many philanthropic organizations and given many honorary degrees; and served on several charitable organizations’ boards. 
Working right through the end, de la Renta had an eye for women’s fashion.
It figures, he was born Oscar Aristides Ortiz Renta Fiallo in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the only boy in a family of 7 children.
He started his fashion career as a student in Madrid selling his fashion illustrations to earn money. 
Oscar de la Renta and Audrey Hepburn
The then-young upstart eventually landed a plum job working for Cristobal Balenciaga in Madrid. 
“I just learned by looking and observing. He was like God to me. ” Oscar de la Renta has said of Cristobal Balenciaga.


He then moved on to work as an assistant to Antonio del Castillo at Lanvin-Castillo, before getting a job designing for Elizabeth Arden in Manhattan, New York in America in 1963.
When Arden was reluctant to work with Oscar’s vision to create more ready-to-wear women’s clothing, he departed in 1965 to work for Jane Darby and eventually took over her label after Darby’s death.
“Everything Oscar does is feminine, romantic and appropriate. He’s not out there trying to be revolutionary, he just wants his clothes to be extremely attractive, and appropriate without being ‘old.’  If you look through his collection, he has a signature:  ‘Beautiful Clothes.'”  Anna Wintour, editor and chief of Vogue, has said of de la Renta. 
He has stayed true to his aesthetic by refusing to sell out his line and keeping the company in the family. 
His son-in-law Alex Bolen currently operates as Chief Executive Officer, and his step-daughter Eliza Bolen serves as Vice President of Licensing, at Oscar de la Renta, LLC.  
Up until succumbing to cancer, he maintained control over his brand and because of that ensured the consistent quality and vision of his clothing. 
He has dressed many of our Bellyitch Bumpwatch moms-to-be and alums including Kerry Washington, Jennifer Garner, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tina Fey, Jessica Alba and currently expecting stars Blake Lively and Rahcel Bilson.
Rest in Peace, Oscar. 
Godspeed. Thank you for your talent and art. Your vision will live in on in fashion history. 

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