(Reuters) – Oscar de la Renta, one of the most sought-after fashion designers of the last half century, dressing American first ladies and Hollywood stars in his classic silhouettes, died on Monday at the age of 82.An individual taking calls at the designer’s residence in Connecticut on Monday night confirmed his death, first reported by ABC News. The New York Times said de la Renta died of complications from cancer.
De la Renta was born to a prominent family on the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic and went to Spain to study art, but was drawn to fashion and started working alongside Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga.
He told The Associated Press in 2004 that his Hispanic roots had worked their way into his designs.”I like light, colour, luminosity. I like things full of colour and vibrant,” he said.
He made his name in the 1960s dressing one of the major fashion icons of the day, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and established his company in New York in 1965.
De la Renta was known as one of the industry’s classic creators, famous for elegantly feminine designs marked by flattering silhouettes with full skirts and cinched waists, often rendered in soft hues and floral patterns.
Most recently, de la Renta made the wedding dress for human rights lawyer Amal Clooney for her marriage in Venice, Italy, last month to Hollywood actor and director George Clooney.
“George and I wanted a wedding that was romantic and elegant, and I can’t imagine anyone more able than Oscar to capture this mood in a dress,” Amal Clooney told Vogue magazine.
The slim de la Renta cut an elegant figure himself in the New York fashion world, where he was a favorite of Vogue magazine’s powerful editor, Anna Wintour, and fashion-savvy actresses like Sarah Jessica Parker.
De la Renta’s classic looks were popular on Hollywood’s red carpets and particularly well-suited to the tastes of the first ladies at the White House, most of whom were repeat clients.
Beyond its signature ready-to-wear women’s collection, his company grew into a major luxury goods purveyor with lines of shoes, handbags, jewelry, home decor and fragrance.
De la Renta is survived by his wife, Annette.