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Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who spent half a century putting high society in haute couture, dies at 82.
De la Renta, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, had been very active up until he was recently hospitalized, showcasing his spring collection at New York Fashion Week. He’d been in and out of chemotherapy at the hospital for several weeks, according to a source.
” Yes, I had cancer. Right now, I am totally clean. The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die,” he told an audience at New York’s 92Y “Fashion Talks” series in June 2013. “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.”
His gowns were coveted and timeless. Amal Alamuddin wore De la Renta when she married George Clooney in Venice. Even Jacqueline Kennedy wore De la Renta. This is actually how he came to fame.
Among the actresses who appreciated his glamorous red carpet gowns were Audrey Hepburn, Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, Kristen Stewart, Penelope Cruz and Jessica Chastain.
His designs were a favorite of first ladies as well, as he dressed Nancy Reagan in the 1980s and then provided inaugural gowns for Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush.
Born in the Dominican Republic to a powerful family, de la Renta went to Spain to study painting and apprenticed with Cristobal Balenciaga before moving to Paris to work at Lanvin and Balmain. He moved to New York where he worked with Elizabeth Arden before launching his ready-to-wear label in 1965.
He married Francois de Langlade, editor of French Vogue, who died in 1983. His second wife, who survives him, is philanthropist Annette Reed. After de Langlade’s death, he adopted a son, Moises, who is a designer and artist.
“Every season I am inspired by women,” said De la Renta, who counted his six sisters as a strong influence.
“RIP iconic designer Oscar De La Renta, who was a big part of 3 of my life’s biggest moments,” singer Gloria Estefan tweeted.