Oscar de la Renta has died

Aged 82

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Oscar de la Renta, the man who put ballgowns on the 21st century fashion agenda, died yesterday following a long battle with cancer. He was 82.

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Born in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta left home at 18 to study painting in Madrid, where he came onto the radar of Cristóbal Balenciaga - and fashion it was. 

His European, couture-honed sensibilities infused with Latin drama created exquisite dresses for politicians, executives, ladies who lunch and executives alike. On the red carpet, his designs were worn by everyone from from Sarah Jessica Parker to Lea Michele.

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'Very few designers  have the gift of being able to dress women as diverse as Taylor Swift and Michelle Obama and make both women look stylish and modern,' says ELLE editor-in-chief Lorraine Candy

'His legacy is a brand which is rooted in American culture and which will survive long into the future; a brand built on his charm and love of the feminine aesthetic.'

Just last week it was confirmed that de la Renta had appointed Nina Ricci's Peter Copping as creative director at his label, reporting directly to him.

'I'm very happy that Peter has agreed to join us,' de la Renta at the time. 

'He is a great talent and along with our shared design sensibilities, we both have a deep curiosity about the wider world, from music and art to architecture and gardens.’

Many had expected John Galliano to take up a permanent role at the house following his much-publicised post-Dior 'return to fashion' in de la Renta's atelier for the a/w 2013 season, but the resulting collection was a one-off collaboration.

Says ELLE assistant editor/editor of ELLE Collections Rebecca Lowthorpe: 'It didn't matter what season or what was going on in the world, Oscar de la Renta's collections always transported you to another place - a place where women looked exquisite. His beautiful clothes were a million miles from the cutting edge, but hugely relevant to the legions of women who wore him, from First Ladies to Hollywood's finest.

'For me, his shows were always a highlight of New York Fashion week - they just made me feel incredibly happy and lucky to be sitting there doing my job, seeing the craft at such a high level, dreaming of wearing an Oscar dress.'

De la Renta is survived by his wife, Anne 'Annette' France Engelhard, three step-children, Beatrice Reed, Charlie Reed and Eliza Bolen; his son Moyses de la Renta; three sisters, and nine grandchildren. Funeral announcements are yet to be made, WWD reports.

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