Oscar de la Renta, left his native Dominican Republic at 18 years of age to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid.
While living in Spain, he became interested in the world of design and began sketching for leading Spanish fashion houses, which soon led to an apprenticeship with Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Later, Oscar de la Renta left Spain to join Antonio Castillo as a couture assistant at the house of Lanvin in Paris.
In 1963, Oscar de la Renta went to New York to design the couture collection for Elizabeth Arden. In 1965, De la Renta began his signature ready-to-wear label.
To complement the signature Oscar de la Renta ready-to-wear designs, the Fall 2001 runway show marked the debut of Oscar de la Renta Accessories; bags, belts, jewelry, scarves and shoes.
The world of Oscar de la Renta also includes cosmetic cases, eyewear, furs, jewelry, lingerie, scarves, and sleepwear.
For men, De la Renta licenses products, including, sports coats, suits, and trousers.
The Fall of 2004 marked the nationwide debut of Oscar de la Renta’s ‘O Oscar’, a moderate women’s sportswear line. O Oscar is the only designer label of its kind available in the moderate tier.
Oscar de la Renta Home debuted a furniture collection and home fragrance collection in 2002. That year Oscar de la Renta Home added bedding and decorative fabrics to its distinguished line of products.
Oscar de la Renta launched his first perfume, Oscar, in 1977. Today, Oscar is a bestseller in over 70 countries and winner of the 1991 Fragrance Foundation Perennial Success Award.
In 1980, he created a fragrance for men, Pour Lui. In 1995, Oscar de la Renta was the recipient of the Living Legend Award from the American Society of Perfumes. In the fall of 1999, Oscar de la Renta introduced Oscar for Men and 2002 marked the debut of Intrusion. In 2004, Oscar de la Renta introduced Rosamor, his latest fragrance for women.
Oscar de la Renta’s talents receive continual international recognition. Among many other honors, Oscar de la Renta received the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2000. In February 1990, he was honored with the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award. From 1973 to 1976, and from 1986 to 1988, Oscar de la Renta served as President of the CFDA. He is also a two-time winner of the Coty American Fashion Critic’s Award and was inducted into the Coty Hall of Fame in 1973. From 1993 -2002 Oscar de la Renta designed the haute couture collection for the house of Pierre Balmain. He was the first American ever to design for a French couture house. Oscar de la Renta has been awarded the French Legion d’Honneur as a Commandeur.
The Dominican Republic has also honored its best known son as one of its most distinguished citizens with the order al Mérito de Juan Pablo Duarte and the order of Cristóbal Colón.
In 1996, Mr. de la Renta received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Heritage Society and in 2000 he marched down Fifth Avenue as Grand Marshall of New York City’s Hispanic Day Parade. Also in 2000, Mr. de la Renta received the Gold Medal of Bellas Artes from the King of Spain.
Oscar de la Renta is a tireless patron of the arts. He serves as a board member of The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, and Channel Thirteen/WNET. He is also on the boards of important cultural institutions such as New Yorkers for Children, the Americas Society, and the Spanish Institute.
Meanwhile, De la Renta earned himself the top award from the CFDA in New York on June 5th 2007. He was awarded the coveted womenswear award, which he shared with fellow designers Lazaro Hernandez & Jack McCollough for Proenza Schouler. During his speech, he also included fellow nominee Marc Jacobs. “There are no losers, only winners,” he said.