Oscar de la Renta, the Dominican-born fashion designer who spent more than 50 years dressing royalty, Hollywood celebrities and U.S. first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy to
A spokesman for his wife, Annette de la Renta, confirmed his death to the Los Angeles Times but would provide no other details.
De la Renta created the wedding gown and some of the trousseau Amal Alamuddin wore for her Sept. 27 wedding to
The "Guru of Glamour," who acquired U.S. citizenship in 1969, was the first American to become the top designer of a French fashion house. As head of Paris-based
"He makes a woman look like a woman, feel like a woman," designer
His blend of European luxury clothing with American casual wear was worn by models
De la Renta's designs, which former New York
"I still remember when Hillary walked out in that gown," President Clinton said in the video tribute. "I thought, 'Oh my God, that's beautiful.' I still think it's probably the best gift Oscar ever gave us, beyond his friendship."
The following year, Hillary Clinton became the first wife of a U.S. president to appear on the cover of Vogue. Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, the future secretary of state donned a De la Renta dress in black velvet for the occasion.
First Lady Michelle Obama had a frosty relationship with De la Renta, snubbing his designs for years after he publicly criticized her choice of clothing for a meeting with
Oscar Aristides Ortiz de la Renta Fiallo was born July 22, 1932, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. His father, Oscar Avelino de la Renta, was a Puerto Rican insurance agent and his mother, Maria Antonia Fiallo, was from a well-to-do Dominican family. De la Renta was his mother's only son, and he had six stepsisters, according to Vogue.
At the urging of his mother, who was terminally ill with multiple sclerosis, De la Renta moved to Madrid at age 17 to study painting at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. In the mid-1950s, he secured a job with fashion designer Cristobal
"Castillo says, 'I like your sketches. I'd like you to work for me,'" De la Renta said in a 2013 interview with
De la Renta returned to New York in 1963 with the belief that fashion's future lay in ready-to-wear clothing, rather than haute couture. He worked for Elizabeth Arden and Jane Derby Inc., which he took over after Derby's death in 1965. De la Renta bought the business and replaced her name with his on the label. Later, he designed for Balmain from 1993 until 2002.
De la Renta was the recipient of the American fashion industry's Coty Award in 1967 and 1968; a lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1990; and the Gold Medal of Bellas Artes from the king of Spain in 2000.
The designer was also a philanthropist, founding the Casa del Nino orphanage in La Romana, Dominican Republic.
Last week, De la Renta's fashion house named his successor, the British designer Peter Copping, who created elegant clothing at
De la Renta was married twice, the first time to Francoise de Langlade, an editor-in-chief of French Vogue, who died in 1983. Six years later, he married Annette Engelhard. Survivors include a son, Moises.
"Style begins by looking good naked," De la Renta said in a 2013 interview with Britain's Telegraph newspaper. "It's a discipline. And if you don't dress well every day, you lose the habit. It's not about what you wear, but how you live your life."