The Elegance of Oscar
“Elegance is a discipline of life.”
- Oscar de la Renta
I've talked before about my love of Oscar de la Renta's label and collections, but I haven't much talked about the man behind it all. We all know his lovely, smiling face, but there's an entire life behind him that I don't think many people know about. It sounds silly, but I have actually had dreams about meeting this man and hearing him talk about his life, his work and his passions. I know! Clearly my brain is in Oscar overload. He was born in the Dominican Republic, I think it's safe to say we all know that. But did you know that in 1950 at the age of eightteen he moved to Madrid to study painting? One wonders what other exciting turns his life would have taken if he had pursued that art. It was during his time in Spain that he discovered his passion for fashion design.
He began sketching fashion when he was young, and today he's one of the few designers to still sketch his designs himself. I love that about him; it makes his clothes seem even more personal, like his gift to women. He worked as an apprentice for Cristobal Belenciaga while he was in Spain, after sketching for prominent companies and building quite a repetoire. At around twenty-eight he moved to Paris and became a couture assitant for Antonio Castillo at Lanvin, but his mind was driven rather constantly to ready-to-wear, which seems to be nearest to his heart as a medium of fashion. It was that interest that brought him to the States, where he continued working in couture for Elizabeth Arden after Diana Vreeland told him that, in the pursuit of his own ready-to-wear collection, he would establish himself fastest through the job. If he hadn't followed Diana's advice he would have likely gone to Dior. And finally, in 1965, Oscar de la Renta the design house was born! The rest - the countless awards, the tremendous accomplishments and the fabulous, fabulous clothes - is fashion history.
"I have always felt my role as a designer is to do the very best I can for a woman to make her look her best. Fashion is only fashion once a woman puts it on."
- Casee Marie
Images via Google