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The Legendary Oscar de la Renta

Culture Watch

Just a mention of his first name and one of the most celebrated, iconic fashion designers in the world is recognized. A man that needs no introduction, Oscar de la Renta, is the subject of a must-read for fashion lovers, “Oscar de la Renta: The Style, Inspiration, and Life of Oscar de la Renta.” As the legendary designer continues to create some of the most beloved looks of our generation, the book reflects on his career with a tantalizing behind-the-scenes view of his professional and private worlds.

Before Oscar earned the monikers “Sultan of Suave” and “Guru of Glamour,” the Dominican Republic native was known simply as Oscar de la Renta, named for his father. At 18, he attended the Academy of San Fernando, Madrid where he studied painting and quickly began sketching for prominent fashion houses and landed a coveted apprenticeship with Cristóbal Balenciaga. With a talent destined for discovery, he swiftly moved up through the fashion world, moving to Paris to join Antonio del Castillo as a couture assistant at Lanvin.

Then, in 1963, Oscar made a bold move under the advice of his friend Diana Vreeland, (then editor-in-chief of Vogue), and moved to ready-to-wear for Elizabeth Arden, and then finally created what is known today as the fashion powerhouse, Oscar de la Renta, in 1965.

His close ties to Vogue have not faded. Anna Wintour speaks his praises in the foreword of the book, “Oscar completely understands who he is and who he is dressing… He’s never tried to be avant-garde or difficult. He just does really good clothes, never overtly sexy but attractive, colorful, and feminine.”

And “who” Oscar is dressing is just about any and every luminary on the planet. This June, his close friend Hillary Clinton, who he dressed on Inauguration Day, honored him at the CFDA Awards, and discussed the first time they had met in 1993, where she wore his designs and met his wife, Annette. Oscar’s dedication to family is also explored in the book of photographs and stories with his personal albums.

The book highlights the extraordinary women dressed in de la Renta over 40 years including Clinton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Penélope Cruz and most notably, Jacqueline Kennedy. His muses, his homes and his countless humanitarian contributions are featured. His roots are close to his heart; Oscar cofounded La Casa del Niño in 1982, a refuge for Dominican children, built a school in Punta Cana, is a board member of the Metropolitan Opera Association and New Yorkers for Children and two-time president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Available at Books & Books' third-floor location.

Click below for a fun preview of the book—a real page-turner!

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