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CrazyFruits » JAMAICAN FASHION & RUNWAY » Oscar de la Renta – A Caribbean Pioneer

Oscar de la Renta – A Caribbean Pioneer

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1bat Oscar de la Renta – A Caribbean Pioneer on Sun 26 Oct 2014 - 20:40



There is no sound more feminine than a woman in a taffeta dress.” This ball-gown, wedding dress, window treatment and wallcovering woven silk fabric staple was the medium with which famed Dominican Republic-born and bred, European-trained American designer Oscar de la Renta helped to document the social calendar of Hollywood stars; ladies-who-lunch and gala socialites; and further afield, US first ladies.
For half-acentury, de la Renta — via his eponymous label and stints at both Elizabeth Arden Couture, Lanvin, and Pierre Balmain — defined his world view as one dedicated to the empowerment of women everywhere — be it a well-turned-out devotee underwriting large sums for a brand new seasonal wardrobe at his atelier in New York City or the aspirant scouring fashion blogs or browsing shop windows for escapist inspiration.
For him, clothes were merely an accentuation and extension of the female form and its accompanying sensibilities, never an installation piece that’s distracting. In this enviable world of unapologetic high glamour, voluminous silhouettes, floor-grazing hemlines, heavily embellished fabrications, and vibrant colour stories became the de la Renta signature which went on to elevate the sportswear pragmatism of Americana fashion to ultra-elegant, Old World proportions.
And along with his contemporaries helped to establish the American metropolis of New York City as a formidable global fashion capital. Born in 1932 in Santo Domingo, Oscar Aristides de la Renta Fiallo was the youngest of seven children and the only boy for his powerful insurance mogul father and equally well-to-do mother.
Encouraged by his chronically ailing mother, who passed away a year before, de la Renta moved to Madrid, Spain, at the age of 19, to study art at the Academy of San Fernando.
Sometime thereafter he apprenticed for three years with the legendary couturier and fashion icon Cristobal Balenciaga, in illustration, before departing unceremoniously to take up fashion designing in the City of Lights, where he found work at the house of Lanvin as couture assistant to the label’s fashion designer Antonio Castillo, who was well known in theatre and film circles as a Tony Award-nominated and Academy Award-winning costume designer.
In 1963, de la Renta moved stateside, and upon then American Vogue Editor-In-Chief Diana Vreeland’s recommendation, designed for Elizabeth Arden.
This was followed with a design partnership with Jane Derby and then a complete takeover which produced his very own fashion house some years later. It was at that juncture Oscar de la Renta would become an American pioneer and the rest, as they say, is history.
On the heels of usurping Kate Middleton’s Sarah Burtondesigned Alexander McQueen wedding dress with his intricately embellished tulle and lace creation for Hollywood A-lister George Clooney’s bride Amal Alamuddin and the foreshadowing appointment of a creative director in the former Nina Ricci artistic director Peter Copping, de la Renta lost his decade-long battle with cancer last Monday, at his home in Connecticut, USA.
As the international fashion and showbiz worlds grieve and celebrate his awardwinning body of work, his outstanding philanthropic efforts, and his larger-than-life charm and humour, SO lays a thanksgiving wreath in honour of a Caribbean pioneer who has bestowed on the cultural landscape an indomitable legacy.


It seems like all the good fashion designers are going one by one rip to oscar

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