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Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Rentavia

Oscar de la Renta passes away aged 82

The legendary American designer dressed everybody from Jackie O to Beyonce

Oscar de la Renta died today at the age of 82, his family have confirmed. The celebrated designer passed away at his home in Kent, Connecticut, almost a decade after being diagnosed with cancer. 

Born in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta apprenticed under Cristobel Balenciaga before working for Balmain and Lanvin. He founded his eponymous label in New York in 1965, swiftly becoming known as one of America's most beloved designers.

Socialites, Hollywood stars and first ladies to all flocked to de la Renta for his impeccably feminine designs and romantic aesthetic. He once told Vogue: "Any girl from any walk of life dreams of that special dress, and I try to make that dream a reality for her."

He dressed Jackie O, Penelope Cruz, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton, who joked in April: "This man has been working for more than 20 years to turn me into a fashion icon... Despite his best efforts."

De la Renta showed his final catwalk collection for SS15 at New York Fashion Week before announcing last week that he would hand over the reins to Peter Copping, formerly creative director of Nina Ricci. Most recently, he designed Amal Alamuddin’s wedding dress for her marriage to George Clooney.

Industry figures lined up to pay tribute to de la Renta as news of his death broke. 

Karlie Kloss, who modelled for de la Renta in his final collection, wrote on Instagram: "The world lost one of the most extraordinary people that I have ever met. Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today and for always inspiring me to be better. There simply is no one else like you."

Former Oscar de la Renta model Naomi Campbell described the designer as "the gentleman of fashion". Project Runway judge Nina Garcia, who worked alongside de la Renta when he was a guest on the show, said he was an inspiration and a legend: 

Company executives Eliza Reed Bolen and Alex Bolen, his stepdaughter and her husband, released a statement saying: "While our hearts are broken by the idea of life without Oscar, he is still very much us. Oscar's hard work, his intelligence and his love of life are at the heart of our company."

"All that we have done, and all that we will do, is informed by his values and his spirit. Through Oscar's example we know the way forward. We will make Oscar very proud of us by continuing in an even stronger way the work that Oscar loved so much."