Oscar de la Renta (born July 22, 1932) is a fashion designer generally considered to be one of the top professionals in that area by fashion critics.
De la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic, son of a Puerto Rican father and a Dominican mother. His original surname is commonly rumored to have been Renta, though there does not appear to be any evidence to support this. At the age of 18, he flew to Madrid, Spain, where he studied painting at the Academy Of San Fernando. Oscar's artistic side, however, would soon start turning ways onto the designing side. He showed interest in the world of fashion and soon found work with some of Spain's top fashion houses as a sketcher. A little later, he took fashion designing class with one of Spain's top couturiers, Cristobal Balenciaga.
De la Renta later moved to Paris, where he joined Antonio Castillo as a couture assistant.
In 1963, de la Renta found himself in New York, where he worked for Elizabeth Arden. That provided de la Renta with incalculable experience, which he would later need to launch his own signature trademark of clothing lines and perfumes.
In 1965, he went to work for Jane Derby Ltd., an American fashion company in business since the 1930s. The labels of the clothes read "Oscar de la Renta for Jane Derby." After Derby's death in 1969, de la Renta took over the company and renamed it Oscar de la Renta. As a fashion designer, he has reached worldwide fame and fortune, and he has been able to buy mansions in his homeland and the United States.
Apart from the signature Oscar de la Renta products, he was able to launch the Pink Label products, and has ventured into the world of women's accessories, men's clothing, sportswear and perfumes. He also produces, with an American manufacturer Century Furniture, a collection of home furnishings based on antiques and other items that he personally owns.
In 1967, he became the third husband of Françoise de Langlade (1931-1983), an editor in chief of French Vogue. Born in Bordeaux and raised between Paris and the island of Martinique, she worked for the fashion house of Elsa Schiaparelli and the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar before joining French Vogue. After her marriage to de la Renta, she worked as a consultant to Elizabeth Arden and later opened a decorating business; her clients included fashion executive Marina Schiano and actors Helmut Berger and Florinda Bolkan. Once a mistress of Baron Elie de Rothschild, she was previously married to and divorced from French businessman Jean Bruère, by whom she had one son, Jean Marc Bruère, and diplomat Nicholas Bagenow. She died of cancer.
In 1989, the designer married Anne France Engelhard (1940 - ), the former wife of New York banker Samuel Pryor Reed and the adopted stepdaughter of American minerals industrialist Charles W. Engelhard Jr.. She is the only child of Jane Pinto Reis (1917-2004, aka Marie Annette Reiss/Marie Antoinette Reiss), a Chinese-born philanthropist of Brazilian, German, and Irish-American ancestry, and her first husband, Dr. Fritz Mannheimer (1890-1939), a German-born Dutch banker and art collector known as the King of Flying Capital. Her maternal grandfather was Hugo Reiss, a Brazilian diplomat who served as minister to China.
De la Renta has stepchildren from both marriages; he also has an adopted son, Moises de la Renta.
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