Oscar de la Renta fitting Beatrice Lodge, the daughter of actor-turned-politician John Lodge, in 1956.
Oscar de la Renta fits Beatrice Lodge, daughter of actor-turned-politician John Lodge, in 1956.Nina Leen—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Oscar de la Renta fitting Beatrice Lodge, the daughter of actor-turned-politician John Lodge, in 1956.
Oscar de la Renta fits Beatrice Lodge, daughter of actor-turned-politician John Lodge, in 1956.
Nina Leen—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Oscar de la Renta: Legendary Designer, Enduring Tastemaker

Oct 21, 2014

Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday at the age of 82, after a protracted, decade-long battle with cancer.

Born in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta left for Spain in his late teens to study painting. He soon began an apprenticeship with designer Cristobal Balenciaga, and eventually moved to Paris, where his career took off. He famously dressed Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s, and went on to design for other First Ladies and for A-list stars and celebrities the world over.

Always quotable, de la Renta made his surprisingly straightforward (but far from simple) philosophy plain throughout his long tenure among the fashion elite. For example:

"I design clothes for women to wear. I am not interested in shock tactics. I just want to make beautiful clothes."

"The qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness."

"I've lived every day to the fullest, and I've had a marvelous time. I've tried to be nice to the people I care about, and ignore the ones I don't. I enjoy what I've done."

"Walk like you have three men walking behind you."

"Fashion is about dressing according to what's fashionable. Style is more about being yourself."

"Being well dressed hasn't much to do with having good clothes. It's a question of good balance and good common sense."

“Fashion is about the present and the immediate future. I think in terms of now.”

"I don’t really know how to do casual clothes."

Oscar de la Renta is survived by his second wife, Annette Engelhard de la Renta; a son, Moises; three sisters; three stepchildren; and nine step-grandchildren.

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