Iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies weeks after creating Amal Alamuddin's stunning wedding dress

Published October 21st, 2014 - 07:07 GMT

Oscar de la Renta has died at the age of 82.

His wife Annette confirmed that the legendary fashion designer passed away at his Kent, Connecticut home on Monday.

De la Renta was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, however a cause of death is yet to be revealed.

He is survived by both Annette and his adopted son Moises - a designer at the label.

Company executives Alex and Eliza Bolen said in a statement that De la Renta died surrounded by family, friends, and 'more than a few dogs'. 

The statement also read: 'While our hearts are broken by the idea of life without Oscar, he is still very much us. Oscar's hard work, his intelligence and his love of life are at the heart of our company.

'All that we have done, and all that we will do, is informed by his values and his spirit. Through Oscar's example we know the way forward. We will make Oscar very proud of us by continuing in an even stronger way the work that Oscar loved so much.' 

De la Renta first came to prominence designing clothes for Jackie Kennedy in the early 1960s, and he started his own fashion label a few years later. 

Most recently, he was behind the wedding dress of Amal Alamuddin, who married George Clooney on September 27, and starred alongside the bride in a photo shoot for Vogue.  

His death comes one week after it was announced that former Nina Ricci designer Peter Copping had been appointed as creative director of the Oscar de la Renta label. 

De la Renta told WWD: 'I'm very happy Peter has agreed to join us. He is a great talent and along with our shared design sensibilities, we both have a deep curiosity about the wider world, from music and art to architecture and gardens.

'Our industry has not always done the best job when it comes to changes in design leadership. My hope is that, in leading this selection, and actively participating in the transition, I can ensure the right design future for our company and brand.' 

It was earlier believed John Galliano would be appointed to the position following a highly successful residency with De la Renta, which was considered to be the disgraced designer's second chance in the fashion world. 

However in April it was claimed by Page Six that Galliano demanded too many members of staff and the financial discrepancies caused negotiations to fall apart. 

De la Renta has become a favourite of movie stars and First Ladies alike, with Nancy Reagan, Betty Ford and Laura Bush also wearing his designs. 

George W. and Laura Bush's daughter Jenna got married in an Oscar de la Renta dress in 2008, while Diana, Princess of Wales was a fan of his work too.

He was close to Hillary Clinton for many years, and dressed her for the 1997 inaugural ball. At last year's Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, the former Secretary of State called De la Renta 'a dear friend' when presenting him with the highest honour in the form of the Founder's Award. 

He returned the favour by telling the audience: 'She might not like me to say this, but I think she’s going to be our next president.' 

Earlier this month, Michelle Obama wore one of the designer's dresses for the first time to a cocktail party following a White House Fashion Education Workshop that she hosted, which comes more than three years after he expressed that he believed the First Lady should be wearing American designs.

De la Renta's beautiful, intricate gowns have also unsurprisingly been worn by many an A-lister at Hollywood award ceremonies.

Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner and Cameron Diaz have all dazzled in his creations at the Academy Awards in recent years. 

An episode of Sex And The City was even dedicated to the designer, and saw Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker), wear a stunning frock to the ballet with Aleksandr Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov). 

De la Renta's breathtaking gowns, which showed off the silhouette of the woman he was dressing while always being elegant and original, led him to become a star in his own right. He is famously quoted as saying: 'The qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness.'

George Clooney's new wife Amal told Vogue: 'George and I wanted a wedding that was romantic and elegant, and I can't imagine anyone more able than Oscar to capture this mood in a dress. Meeting him made the design process all the more magical, as he is so warm and such a gentleman.'

The visionary worked right up until his death, and held his most recent show at New York Fashion Week on September 9. 

De la Renta was born in 1932 in the Dominican Republic, and moved to Madrid at the age of 18 to study painting after leaving home. 

He was mentored by Cristobal Balenciaga during an apprenticeship and then moved to Paris where he worked with Lanvin. 

The designer wed Annette in 1989. He was previously married to former French Vogue editor Françoise de Langlade, until her death in 1983, and has stepchildren from both marriages.

De la Renta said in June of last year of his cancer battle: 'Right now, I am totally clean. The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die.

'We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life.'


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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