Dominican born fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta, took the fashion world by storm throughout the sixties, producing timeless couture pieces for many well-known faces from film stars to royalty. The youngest of seven children, Oscar de la Renta had a passion for art from an early age and took a leap of confidence by moving to Madrid in 1951 to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando aged just 18.
His passion and flair for creativity was the essence of Oscar de la Renta’s life. During his art studies, he discovered a love for fashion illustration before being successfully commissioned to design the debutante gown for Beatrice Cabot Lodge, daughter of U.S Ambassador to Spain in 1956 after his illustrations were noticed in the local newspaper. This led to his first magazine feature with the couture dress photographed for the cover of Life magazine – a huge stepping-stone for the designer.
The world of Oscar de la Renta’s unmistakeable womenswear collections began with an apprenticeship working with renowned couturier, Balenciaga, who became Oscar de la Renta’s mentor before moving to Paris to work as a couture assistant for Lanvin in 1961.
Popular for his show-stopping couture gowns, de la Renta wanted to venture into producing a stunning ready-to-wear collection and design clothes accessible to an increasing number of women.
His love for design, enthusiasm to learn and thrive to continuously develop, led to de la Renta working for Elizabeth Arden for two years where he began producing his visionary ready-to-wear collections before travelling to New York City to work for Jane Derby, where de la Renta would soon take over the brand. His dreams were soon becoming a reality and Oscar de la Renta designs were regularly being featured in popular fashion magazines including Vogue and worn regularly by an array of royals and celebrities at monumental events. The popularity of Oscar de la Renta pieces have been recognised over the years, winning a number of prestigious awards and acknowledgements, and showcased in the movie industry – a huge success for the designer. Heavily featured in the huge hit film Sex in the City, the film styled by Patricia Field (leading stylist and costume designer), crafted a range of iconic looks including a wedding dress from the de la Renta bridal collection that launched in 2006. Sarah Jessica Parker was also styled in a quintessential couture, black and white Oscar de la Renta dress for the 2014 Met Gala, which successfully showcased the famous Oscar de la Renta signature on the skirt. This was a huge moment for de la Renta as Carrie Bradshaw, renowned for being the pinnacle of fashion – a television and movie icon that women around the world look to as a fashion inspiration and role model.
Oscar de la Renta’s career spans decades of success, from the early days of working with Elizabeth Arden during the sixties right through to the modern 21st century. His designs have continued to progress and develop throughout the years introducing perfumes and home collections – opening doors to more and more women across the world wanting to own part of Oscar de la Renta.
In the wake of his death in 2014, at Open for Vintage, we wanted to pay homage to the influential early Oscar de la Renta designs, so we have handpicked a collection of sought-after timeless key pieces for fashionista’s out there wishing to own a piece of vintage fashion…