Oscar de la Renta, born Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo in 1932, migrated to Madrid, Spain, from his home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, at age 19. While studying art at the Academy of San Fernando, de la Renta sketched clothing for fashion houses and newspapers. The wife of the U.S. ambassador to Spain was impressed with his drawings, and in 1956, asked him to design a dress for her daughter’s debutante ball. The daughter, wearing his dress, was featured on the cover of “LIFE” magazine.

Quickly, he was hired by prestigious Madrid designer Cristobal Balenciaga to draw dress concepts for clients. While de la Renta considered Balenciaga his mentor, he had his sights on bigger things: the Paris fashion world. He left Madrid for Paris in 1961, where he was offered a gig working for Christian Dior on the spot.

But Antonio del Castillo, the head designer at Lanvin, offered de la Renta better pay to become his assistant. In 1963, de la Renta decided he was interested in designing ready-to-wear than haute couture, so “Vogue” editor Diana Vreeland advised him to go to Elizabeth Arden in New York—who then put out a couture line. In 1965, he left Arden to work at Jane Derby’s Seventh Avenue studio. When Derby died later that year, he took over the company and relaunched the high-end ready-to-wear brand under his own name.

That same decade, de la Renta catapulted into international fame by becoming one of the designers who dressed First Lady Jackie Kennedy, who was known for her exquisite, refined taste for haute couture fashion. In 1967 and 1968, he received Coty Awards, an honor bestowed by a jury of fashion editors, for his influence on style, and by 1973, they listed him in the Coty Hall of Fame.

During his career, de la Renta became associated with styling glamorous celebrities for the red carpet and dressing socialites and first ladies. He shaped our idea of what a president’s wife should look like, nudging them to wear contemporary off-the-rack looks when they weren’t striding in stately gowns. He formed close relationships with Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton, whom he first put in her iconic pantsuit. He designed Laura Bush’s inauguration gown, as well as a wedding dress for her daughter, Jenna. While Michelle Obama has been influenced by his restrained, pretty First Lady style, it wasn’t until 2014 that she first appeared in one of his elegant designs.

De la Renta first showed his clothing at the Paris Fashion Week in the 1990s: He presented three ready-to-wear collections in 1991 and 1992, before he showed a haute couture line for Paris fashion house Pierre Balmain. De la Renta continued to work until he passed away in 2014 at age 82.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

MyVintageVogue

MyVintageVogue

The history of 20th-century women’s fashion largely played out in the pages of magazines such as “Harper’s Ba… [read review or visit site]

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

Fashion Columbia Study Collection

The Fashion Columbia Study Collection (FCSC) is the digital home of the Columbia College Chicago’s fashion archiv… [read review or visit site]

1960s Fashion and Textiles

1960s Fashion and Textiles

Put on your go-go boots and check out this wavy, groovy tribute to 1960s fashion and textiles, courtesy of the Vict… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Fashion Guild

Vintage Fashion Guild

The VFG is a non-profit international educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of vinta… [read review or visit site]

Fashion-Era

Fashion-Era

Bursting at the seams with content, this site contains hundreds of pages of fashion and costume history, including … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

$890.00 New Auth Oscar De La Renta Black Cashmere Spring Shrug Sweater LargeAuthentic Vintage Oscar De La Renta Sequin Dress -size 4-6Auth Oscar De La Renta Reverse Stitched Patchwork Cashmere Sweater Size Large$1990.00 New Auth Oscar De La Renta Black Perforated White Beaded Sweater LargeOscar De La Renta 100% Italian Cashmere Black Knit Long Sleeve Sweater Top Cozy$890.00 New Auth Oscar De La Renta Purple Cashmere Spring Shrug Sweater LargeOscar De La Renta Authentic Silver Pockets Size 2/4Vintage Oscar De La Renta Gold Sequined Gown 12$2550.00 New Auth Oscar De La Renta Embroidered Perforated Floral Jacket Size 10Vintage Oscar De La Renta Saks Fifth Avenue Floral High Neck Ruffle Dress 8Vintage Oscar De La Renta Studio 100% Silk Pink Bold Floral A-line Dress 8Oscar By Oscar De La Renta 100% Silk Black White Pinstripe Blazer Jacket Sz 12M Rosy Satin Slip Negligee Lingerie Long Night Gown Oscar De La Renta$2890.00 New Auth Oscar De La Renta Blue Woven White Ribbon Sweater Size LargeOscar De La Renta Hand Knit Jacket F12 Size Medium$890.00 New Auth Oscar De La Renta Green Cashmere Spring Shrug Sweater Large$890.00 New Auth Oscar De La Renta Burgundy Cashmere Spring Shrug Sweater Large$890.00 Authentic Oscar De La Renta Brown Cashmere Spring Shrug Sweater LargeGreen Oscar De La Renta Split Ruffled Cap Sleeve Lingerie Nightgown Sz L LongOscar De La Renta Cream & Pink Cotton Polka Dot Dress Size 6 Made In Usa ����Oscar De La Renta White Silk Pleated A Line Bubble Hem Dress Size 10 Ll19llVintage Oscar De La Renta White Silk Strapless Ruffles Layered Gown Dress 10 MVtg Oscar De La Renta 2 Piece Silk Dress 100% Silk 14Women's Vintage 2 Piece Oscar De La Renta Saks Fifth Avenue Dress And Coat Sz 4Vtg Oscar De La Renta Long Silky Slippery Blue Satin & Lace Nightgown S - MOscar De La Renta 100% Silk Red/black 2 Pc Pajamas Jacquard Preowned XsNwt Oscar De La Renta Brown Tan Tweed A-line Career Skirt Size 10 Petite PVintage Silky Nylon Panties—oscar De La Renta Size MediumOscar De La Renta Womens Brown Tan Tweed Suit Blazer Jacket Size 16 Petite P Oscar De La Renta Ivory Silk Blend Blouse Ruffles Button Down Sz 14 TopOscar De La Renta Sweater Set Of Two Bra Tops Size L - White Victoria Secrets And Gray Oscar De La RentaOscar Oscar De La Renta Brown Cotton Long Sleeve Buttonfront Fauxfur Jacket 6p