CNN is reporting that legendary Dominican American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has died. Known as the “Sultan of Suave,” de la Rent passed away October 20 in his home in Kent, Connecticut due to complications caused by cancer. He was 82.
De la Renta was reported to have been diagnosed with cancer in 2006, but had announced at the Council of Fashion Designers of America last year that he was “totally clean” of cancer. The iconic fashion designer commented on his health at the same event saying:
“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.”
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, was a long time friend of de la Renta. Hearing of his passing, Wintour paid tribute to her old friend in a piece on Vogue.com. Wintour writes:
“There is much being said that his passing yesterday marks the end of an era. Not true. He was the most democratic man I knew and he would have lived happily and defined any era. He was happy dining with the rich and famous, for sure, but equally happy playing dominoes with his devoted staff. His designs reflected his extraordinary personality: optimistic, fun, sunny, romantic.
He told me he felt he had had the most amazing life and he was not afraid. This strength must have been with him in the hospital last week when he made the decision to turn off treatment; it was not the quality of life he wanted.”
Born Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo, de la Renta was born July 22, 1932, in the Dominican Republic. Leaving his home at 18, de la Renta was carried by his talent and passion, working his way through the ranks of fashion designers. He was educated at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernand. De la Renta became the first Dominican to design for a French couture house when he designed the haute couture collection for the house of Balmain.
De la Renta has designed gowns for the U.S. Presidential First Ladies including Jacqueline Kennedy, Laura Bush, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michelle Obama who wore a de la Renta design as recently as two weeks ago at a cocktail party for the Fashion Education Workshop she hosted at the White House.
He has also styled many celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence and Oprah Winfrey.
De la Renta’s first wife, Francoise de Langlade, a former editor of French Vogue, died of bone cancer in 1983. They were married for 16 years. He is survived by his second wife Annette Engelhard Reed and a son, Moises de la Renta. R.I.P. Mr. de la Renta.
Read more at CNN.