July 22 – Today in Hat History
July 22, Today in Hat History.
1932. Oscar de la Renta.
Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo known professionally as Oscar de la Renta, was a Dominican American fashion designer. Born in Santo Domingo, he was trained by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Antonio del Castillo. De la Renta became internationally known in the 1960s as one of the couturiers who dressed Jacqueline Kennedy. An award-winning designer, he worked for Lanvin and Balmain. His eponymous fashion house continues to dress leading figures, from film stars to royalty.
At the age 19, he went to study painting in Spain at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. For extra money, he drew clothes for newspapers and fashion houses. After Francesca Lodge, the wife of John Davis Lodge, the U.S. Ambassador to Spain, saw some of his dress sketches, she commissioned de la Renta to design a gown for her daughter Beatrice. The dress appeared on the cover of Life magazine that fall.
He quickly became interested in the world of fashion design and began sketching for leading Spanish fashion houses, which soon led to an apprenticeship with Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. He considered Cristóbal Balenciaga his mentor. In 1961, de la Renta left Spain to join Antonio del Castillo as a couture assistant at Lanvin in Paris.
In 1963, de la Renta moves to New York City and designs a couture collection for Elizabeth Arden at the suggestion of Elizabeth Arden. De la Renta proceeded to work for Arden for two years in New York. He joined American designer Jane Derby and when she died in August 1965, the Oscar de la Renta label was born.