Oscar de la Renta remembered for his elegant designs, generosity

Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:57pm EDT
 
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oscar de la Renta, the legendary fashion designer who dressed first ladies and Hollywood stars during a career that spanned five decades, was remembered on Tuesday for his exquisite style, generous heart and tireless philanthropy.

Tributes poured in for the tall, Dominican-born designer who died late on Monday at the age of 82, surrounded by family at his Connecticut home after a battle with cancer.

"He died exactly as he wished: with tremendous grace, great dignity and very much on his own terms," his family said on his website. "We are working on arrangements to celebrate his life."

Known for his classic, feminine creations, de la Renta dressed first ladies, Republican and Democratic, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, who wore a plum-colored de la Renta gown to her daughter's wedding in 2010.

"His singular talent and exquisite taste elevated American fashion, and his warmth and friendship will be missed by our family and all whose lives he touched in his extraordinary journey," Bill and Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

One of his most recent designs was the lace, off-the-shoulder wedding gown he created for human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin for her September wedding to actor George Clooney in Venice, Italy.

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine and a close friend, said he was equally happy dining with the rich and famous as he was playing dominoes with his staff.

"His designs reflected his extraordinary personality - optimistic, fun, sunny, romantic," she said on Vogue's website.   Continued...

 
Designer Oscar De La Renta smiles with model Karlie Kloss (L) and another model after presenting his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week in this February 12, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson