Polished and proud, Oscar de la Renta’s name is synonymous with wearable couture. From crepe to suiting, and everything in between, Oscar de la Renta was internationally known for his posh evening wear laced with old-world craftsmanship. Growing up in Santo Domingo, his gowns were tinged with Latin flair and folklore. Whether he was dressing a first lady or a princess of pop culture, Oscar de la Renta’s designs were executed beautifully. Let’s take a look at the life of Oscar de la Renta, his eponymous brand, and how you can create and ode to Oscar in your wardrobe. Don’t forget to check out Mood’s collection of Oscar de la Renta fabrics to really get you in the Mood!
Born Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo on July 22nd, 1932 in Santa Domingo, Oscar de la Renta was part of a well-established Catholic family that featured prominent Dominican scholars, businessmen, and diplomats. A lifelong artist, he moved to Paris to study painting at 18, often drawing garments for newspapers and designers for extra money. This soon led to an apprenticeship at Balenciaga in Spain and afterwards, at Lanvin in Paris. In the mid-60’s, Oscar de la Renta became internationally known as one of the designers to dress Jacqueline Kennedy, and he opened his eponymous brand to the delight of many upper-crust fashionistas. Married to Francoise de Lagade in 1966, de la Renta stayed with his wife until her passing from cancer in 1983. He soon adopted a son, Moises, and remarried in 1990 to Annette Engelhard. Throughout his life, Oscar de la Renta was continually sought out by royals and red-carpet goers. He passed in 2014 due to complications related to cancer at the age of 82.
Oscar de la Renta often said “Fashion is only fashion once a woman puts it on.” This is evident in the eponymous brand he opened in 1965 in New York City, which created couture-level evening wear that was as show-stopping as it was wearable. Flowing silks, floral laces, and voluminous organzas all had their place when it came to this designer-to-the-stars, whose beautiful gowns have been seen on everyone from Laura Bush to Sarah Jessica Parker. Well-known for garments that were feminine and empowering, they often featured old-world tailoring paired with modernity. Oscar de la Renta never forgot his Dominican roots, and often featured Latin fashion influences and folklore in his gowns. Oscar de la Renta is a brand of many hats, though, and their runways show ready-to-wear as well as evening gowns. Even the evening wear is full of variety, as some gowns are slinky and silken, while others feature pouf and tulle, and some even have structured taffeta and asymmetrical detailing! One thing never missing from an Oscar de la Renta runway? These garments were made with women in mind. Women with confidence and style, poise and power, and who know exactly where to go to get what they want.
From twill to taffeta, the world of Oscar de la Renta was filled with exciting colors, popping floral prints, and an enchanting silhouette that could make the most comely girl magnificent. His garments instilled confidence in the wearer, and awe in everyone else. Allow Oscar de la Renta’s designs to inspire you with silk charmuese, or take his detailed taste and create a wool jacket with a jacquard lining!
Although evening wear extravaganza may not describe your typical day, or even your nights out, you can still bring a little of Oscar de la Renta’s style into your wardrobe. Of course, you can use Oscar de la Renta’s stunning fabrics for anything, but Mood has a variety of stellar patterns that would be perfect for an Oscar-inspired collection! The Cosmos Dress is simple and sleek, while featuring a lovely lace detailing on the shoulders that’s absolutely darling. The Brassia Dress was made with Jackie O’ in mind, a simple silhouette that can be dressed up and down with ease. The skirt of The Iris Ensemble is floor sweeping and high reaching, utilizing a jacquard that I could see on an Oscar de la Renta runway today. The ombre charmuese of The Rue Dress features the ever-present leg-slit that has been on every red carpet, an ideal look for a blustery summer afternoon. The Shirley Dress Redux was actually based off of Carolina Herrera, whose full-skirted silhouette is very similar to many of Oscar’s style. The Ulmus Dress features asymmetry and a bold print, a casual yet elegant ensemble that transcends dress codes. All of these patterns were made with real women in mind. All sizes and shapes, all backgrounds, and all with one thing in common: the need to dress to impress, an idea that every Oscar-aficionado can respect.
Mood is proud to host a variety of designer fabrics, including Carolina Herrera and Theory, to name a few. Oscar de la Renta‘s use of fabric was immaculate, exactly what Mood looks for in a textile! Check out Oscar de la Renta cottons for sundresses, or utilize Oscar de la Renta Wool for old-world tailored skirt suits!
Designers are inspired by many things, from their homelands to places they wish to go. In fact, many designers are inspired by each other, and you can see imagery from one runway that will flow into the next. Oscar de la Renta had a special sense of style, and although many hope to emulate it, very few can. Carolina Herrera definitely has her own special sense, as her full maxi skirts and crisp white blouse are a staple all in themselves. She shares careful tailoring and a Latin flair with Oscar de la Renta, although she was from Brazil, not the Dominican Republic. Her final show with her eponymous brand was Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear, where she showed a variety of garments that truly represented her designs as a whole. Jet-setting ensembles and feminine figures are defining qualities of designer Giambattista Valli, who utilizes similar silhouettes to Oscar de la Renta. Described “as close to couture as ready-to-wear can get,” the pouf and posh looks that fill Valli’s runway keep femininity in frame. Designer Zac Posen maintains these qualities too, creating luxurious looks for glamorous gals. From travel-ready capes to red carpet ready gowns, he’s New York’s shining star. A former Project Runway judge, this versatile creator also designs for Brooks Brothers and Delta Airlines.
Oscar de la Renta was a timeless designer with a sense of style that few could meet. Positively posh, only time will tell how other designers will fill his shoes in the future. Are you an Oscar-afficienado? If not, what designer do you love? I love Oscar de la Renta, but Gucci will always own my heart. Let me know what designers you love in the comments!