Monday, February 19th
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Oscar de la Renta
”I wanted this, I wanted to do this, but my work is me, and it has to be right.”
This focus on precision and attention to detail has been very beneficial to the Dominican born and Spanish educated Oscar de la Renta. Out of school, de la Renta began working as a sketch artist in various Spanish houses before being selected as an assistant to Cristóbal Balenciaga. Later on, after working at Lanvin in Paris, de la Renta faced a big decision, should he design for Elizabeth Arden or design ready-to-wear for Christian Dior. Diana Vreeland, the then editor in chief of Vogue, advised that he go to Arden in order to make a reputation faster because he wouldn't be eclipsed by the name Dior. De la Renta proceeded to work for Arden for two years before launching his own label. De la Renta's talents receive continual international recognition. Among them, he was honored with the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990 and received the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2000. He is also a two-time winner of the Coty American Fashion Critic's Award and was inducted into the Coty Hall of Fame in 1973. From 1973 to 1976, and 1986 to 1988, he served as President of the CFDA. In 1993 to 2002, Oscar de la Renta designed the haute couture collection for the house of Pierre Balmain becoming the first American ever to design for a French couture house.
De la Renta gives ardently to the community and serves on the board of many cultural and charitable institutions, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York Opera House, Carnegie Hall, Channel Thirteen/WNET, the America's Society, the Queen Sofa Spanish Institute, and New Yorkers for Children. Additionally, de la Renta has contributed heavily to the building of a school near his home in Punta Cana. Along with Bill Blass and Calvin Klein, de la Renta was one of the three major protégés of Baron de Gunzburg.