Óscar Arístides de la Renta Fiallo (July 22, 1932 – October 20, 2014) was a Dominican fashion designer. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, De la Renta was trained by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Antonio del Castillo, he became internationally known in the 1960s as one of the couturiers to dress Jacqueline Kennedy. An award-winning designer, he worked for Lanvin and Balmain; his eponymous fashion house continues to dress leading figures, from film stars to royalty, into the 2010s. De la Renta is particularly known for his red carpet gowns and evening wear.
At the age of 18, he left the Dominican Republic to study in Spain, where he studied painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid, Spain. He quickly became interested in the world of fashion design and began sketching for leading Spanish fashion houses, which soon led to an apprenticeship with Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. He considers Cristóbal Balenciaga his mentor. Later, de la Renta left Spain to join Antonio del Castillo as a couture assistant at Lanvin in Paris.
In 1963, de la Renta turned to Diana Vreeland, the editor-in-chief of Vogue for advice, saying that what he really wanted was to "get into ready to wear, because that’s where the money is". Vreeland replied, “Then go to Arden because you will make your reputation faster. She is not a designer, so she will promote you. At the other place, you will always be eclipsed by the name of Dior.” De la Renta proceeded to work for Arden for two years before he in 1965 went to work for Jane Derby and launched his own label. When Derby died in August 1965 Oscar de la Renta took over the label. From 1993 to 2002, Oscar de la Renta designed the haute couture collection for the house of Balmain, becoming the first Dominican to design for a French couture house. In 2006, the Oscar de la Renta label diversified into bridal wear.
Oscar de la Renta died on October 20, 2014 at his home in Kent, Connecticut at the age of 82, he had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006. A year before, at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Executive Director Fern Mallis called him “The Sultan of Suave.” At that event, he spoke of his cancer, saying, "Yes, I had cancer. 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."