As one of my favorite designers, Oscar de la Renta knows how to make a woman look and feel sexy in her clothing.

He was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic on July 22, 1932 to his parents Maria Fiallo and Oscar de la Renta. Oscar studied at some of the most intricate and well respected fashion houses on earth. Before he found his love for fashion he left home at the age of 18 to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. While in Spain he became interested in fashion and started sketching for different fashion houses. He then landed an opportunity to work as an apprentice to Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristobal Balenciaga. Once Oscar left Spain he went to work as a couture assistant to Antonio Castillo at Lavin in Paris. He was the first Dominican to design for a French couture house.

The well-trained Oscar de la Renta at the age of 31 had major decisions to make. He had to choose between designing custom clothing for Elizabeth Arden and designing ready to wear for Christian Dior. Normal people have to decide between cooking and eating take out for dinner. Oscar was far from normal. His mentor, Diana Vreeland, gave him the advice to get into the ready to wear because that was where the money was. She then said follow up by working for Arden because she will promote him because while working at Dior, you will always be overshadowed by the brand name. And that was the path Oscar followed. After working for Arden for 2 years, he launched his own label.

By 1965 he had a Pink Label and a ready to wear label. It wasn’t until 2001 did he introduce his accessories.

Oscar de la Renta has a high-end sportswear collection OSCAR by Oscar de la Renta, cosmetic cases, eyewear, furs, lingerie, scarves, sleepwear, and swimwear. Additionally he has a men’s collection that includes sports coats, suits, and trousers. He included a home wear addition to his lines as well. As if he did not already have enough products baring his name, he came out with fragrances in 1977 for women and 1980 for men. Oscar reminisced with NY mag saying that at the age of 7 he experimented with making perfume in his back yard. He was fascinated how dewdrops came from flowers, who knew that would be the beginning of his path to success.

In 2004 he introduced an eyewear line, a lower priced clothing line call O Oscar, and a free standing store on Madison Avenue. During this year he handed over his chief executive title to son in law Alex Bolen but her remains chairman.


At the age of 35 Oscar de la Renta married Francoise de Langlade, the editor-in-chief of French Vogue. She worked as a consultant to Elizabeth Arden and was very prominent in fashion and society. She attracted many rich and famous people to his shows with helped his business incredibly.

After a struggle with cancer she died in 1983. It was that time that he adopted his child Moises, because her death left him without a family.

He remarried to Annette Reed in 1989 who was the former wife of the American Heritage magazine published Samuel Pryor Reed. Her 3 children from that marriage would receive over 50 million in shared and buildings around the world upon their 21st birthday. She was also a socialite who brought a lot of attention to her husband’s brand. However, strangely enough when he first asked her to be married she didn’t jump at the opportunity saying that she thought there was no need. But since he is Latino and he believes in the institution they were married.

Protégé of Baron de Gunzburg, Oscar de la Renta not only contributed significantly to fashion, but he has contributed to the world as well. He was honored by the Dominican Republic with the order al Merito de Juan Pablo Duarte and the Order of Cristobal Color. He also contributed heavily to the construction of a school in Punta Cana. He is a member of The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, and Channel Thirteen/WNET. He is also on the boards of New Yorkers for children, The Americas Society, ad the Spanish Institute. Another huge extension of himself is that he adopted a child, Moises de la Renta, from the Dominican Republic. He did this well before it became a fad and for all the right reasons.

Today his son is in his twenties and has taken up an interest in fashion. He spends his time like many of his other socialite peers in clubs and hanging out. Moises attended Marymount Manhattan College before dropping out to become a designer. Today he is studying at FIT. HE mad a hipster looking T-shirt as his first try at designing and it sold for $150 with critical acclaim from the top fashion mags. In January he debuted a denim collection in Damon Dashes club called NA. It was successful and his father believes he has a lot of talent, but he has a ways to go and that is why he is in school. Oscar emphasizes to his son that it is nice to have your clothes in Vogue, but the way to make money is to sell to stores that people can buy from. His line today, MDLR is a polar opposite of his father’s clothing but the edge combined to delicate tailoring can only spell success for the young de la Renta.

Mr. de la Renta is a very accomplished designer that has attracted women both young and old to his collections. As a masterful tailor and a skillful designer he is sought after by some of the top people in the world such as Anna Wintour, Laura Bush, Beyonce Knowles and the late Jackie Onassis. Today his business is booming because professional women are buying clothes that she likes and not the boring clothes to fit into a man’s world, as was the case in the seventies.

Today Oscar also has a lot of suggestions from politicians and their spouses. Working with Nancy Reagan and Jackie O, Oscar is no stranger to the white house. For Hillary Clinton he advises that she doesn’t wear black because it makes her look tough. (He reveals to NYmag that he even voted for her husband in addition to Reagan and Bush.) Mr. de la Renta has also been tough on the First lady Mrs. Obama. He wasn’t to pleased that she wore a sweater to Buckingham Palace. This came after her decision against wearing an Isabel Toledo original dress to the meeting with the Queen. He also believes that she should give more support to the fashion industry that is tanking now. While some hard working and deserving designers are practically starving, J.Crew is selling out of the 300$ cardigans worn by the first lady. I understand where he is coming from, but whatever the first lady wears someone is going to be unhappy.


Award Center:
CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2000 and 2007
CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award 1973-1976
President of CFDA 1986-1988
Won American Fashion Critic’s Award twice
Winner of Fragrance Foundation Perennial Success Award in 1991
Living Legend Award from American Society of Perfumes in 1995
Coty Hall of Fame 1973
French legion d’Honneur
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Heritage Society
Gold Medal of Bellas Artes form the King of Spain in 2000

I am very impressed with his accomplishments as a designer, but I am even more impressed with his contributions outside of just making quality clothing. This year he was noted for having more diversity on the runway, which is a huge think to me and I appreciate him for that. That is only one thing to add to his list of many selfless and generous acts. The adoption of Moises is something that has really turned me onto Oscar de la Renta. He treats his son as if he was his own blood. He care about him like a father should, he gets upset with unfair media coverage and criticisms of his child. He is supportive, loving, and he is not absent in his son’s life. A lot of fathers and parents in general today need to take note from Mr. de la Renta.

Designers around the world should take notes from his designing skills. None of his pieces look cheap or poorly crafted, that would be simply impossible. The skills he acquired while he was young have been continued to this day in his clothing. No one woman on earth can resist his feminine dresses, beautiful prints, and flattering fit. I definitely can’t.

Oscar, having a sample sale anytime soon?

P.s. don’t forget to follow his pr team on twitter.com/OscarPRGirl

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Let’s Talk Vera Wang!

June 18, 2009


Since this week I will be focusing on CFDA ( Council of Fashion Designers of America) winners, both past and present, Vera Wang seems very appropriate. We all know this world renowned wedding dress designer, but do we know anything else about her ? Well let’s get down to business.

Vera was born as Wang Woiwei ( or Vera Ellen Wang) on June 27, 1949. Vera, of Chinese decent, was raised in the East side of Manhattan by an affluent family. Her mother, Florence Wu, is a United Nations translator. She exposed Vera to style and fashion early on in life. Cheng Ching, her father, started and owned a chemical company focused on oils and pharmaceuticals. He and her mother provided Vera and brother, Kenneth, a very comfortable childhood.

At the age of seven Wang’s parents gave her a pair of ice skates and it was love at first sight. What many of us don’t know about Vera is that she was a trained figure skater. She competed nationally in the U.S. National Championships. She placed fifth in 1968 and 1969 with partner James Stuart. She even appeared in Sport’s Illustrated ” Faces in the Crowd” issue.

Though she showed her talents in figure skating, she was unable to earn a space on the Olympic Team in 1968. She was given the opportunity to tour with an ice show, but she turned the opportunity down. She once told People magazine that the only thing she loved as much as skating were clothes and with that, design became her new focus in life.

The now womenswear designer went to the renowned Chapin School. She also studied at the University of Paris and studied at Sorbonne during her sophomore year in college. Her and her mother frequented fashion shows in Paris as well. Vera ultimately graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in art history in 1971.

Upon graduation, Vera went to work at Vogue Magazine, the launching pad for many legendary fashion careers. After completing her first year, she was named the youngest fashion editor in Vogue’s history at the age of 23. While at Vogue, Vera would work until the wee hours of the morning looking over photos from shoots and selecting clothing for the magazine. She said she would do anything in order to work her way up in the ranks of Vogue. While she was assisting Polly Mellen, she would sweep floors in the Scavullo’s studio and run out for yogurt per request of the models. After 16 faithful years at Vogue, Vera Wang was turned down for the editor-in-chief position, which was in turn given to Anna Wintour.

Her unemployment period did not last long, she was quickly acquired by Ralph Lauren where she worked as a design director for two years.

The inspiration for her current expertise, wedding gowns, came as she was shopping for her own wedding dress. Frustrated with the limited options she encountered, she hired a dressmaker and designed her own wedding gown for her marriage to Arther Becker which would cost her $10,000. Before Vera, there was no fashion in wedding gowns. After finding this market in need of contemporary elegant gowns, in 1990 Vera opened her own bridal boutique. With funding from her father, she set up shop at the Carlyle Hotel in New York. At her boutique she not only carried her own line, but lines from other great bridal designers.

Returning to her roots,in 1994 Vera designed a simple white skating dress worn by Nancy Kerrigan in the Winter Olympics. She also designed costumes for Michelle Kwan. These designs gave her international attention that she did not have before.

Vera took her career to the next step in the late 90’s making evening wear. From that moment on she became a hit in the celebrity arena. Celebs from Vanessa Williams, to J. Lo to Whoopi Goldberg were sporting Wang’s originals. Today Vera has dabbled in fragrances, shoes, jewelry, and home fashion. She even opening the first high fashion suite in a hotel in Hawaii, amazing right ?! However, she never strays too far from her roots in athletics. She was commissioned to design the uniform of the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders. Their two piece ensemble was designed uniquely and specifically for those gorgeous ladies by Ms. Wang herself.

Vera’s achievements have not gone unrecognized. She has won the CFDAwomenswear designer of the year award in 2005 ( beating Marc Jacobs, mind you) and the Andre Leon Tally Lifetime Achievement Award. V era wrote a book about weddings in 2001 published by HarperCollins called Vera Wang on Weddings. She has made movie and tv appearances as herself throughout her years as well. The ink has recently dried on her contract to do Season 9 of Dancing with the Stars this year.

Vera has also taken advantage of an opportunity to design clothing and handbags for Khols, an affordable department store. This makes Vera Wang merchandise accessible to everyone.

Vera Wang, who is lives in NYC with her husband and two kids, has worked her way up in the fashion world with passion and desire for elegance. With help from family and connections she has grown into one of the most sought after designers to the stars and to any woman getting married. Vera’s father always inspired her to keep doing what she wants and what she loves and never to do nothing and she has taken his advice to new heights. Her multi million dollar empire is a household name and is sold in major department stores like Bergdorf and Saks and loved by many all over the world.

So Vera, here is to you, you are a genius in fit and style of clothing and you can make anyone feel sexy in one of your designs. Good Luck on DWTS ’09! Oh and Happy Birthday soon, 60 and Fabulous!