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Oscar de la Renta dies at 82; fashion designer dressed stars, first ladies

Oscar de la Renta, fashion designer who dressed stars and first ladies, dies at 82

Oscar de la Renta, a fashion designer whose gowns have been a staple at red-carpet events, died Monday at 82, a spokesman for his wife confirmed.

In addition to his evening gowns, De la Renta's work included women's wear and perfume lines.

Nearly every first lady in modern history, including Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michelle Obama, have worn his designs. Vogue Editor Anna Wintour was also a big proponent of his designs, which she wears often.

Although De la Renta is considered an American designer, his feminine style is more rooted in European couture traditions.

Born on July 22, 1932, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, De la Renta went to art school in Spain and moved to New York at age 30. He founded his label in 1965 after training with Balenciaga, and also worked as the designer of Balmain couture for nine years.

De la Renta named his successor just last week: the British designer Peter Copping, who created elegant, ladylike clothing at Nina Ricci, where he was creative director for five years. Copping was due to begin work as creative director at De la Renta ‎on Nov. 4, and his first collection for the house is to be shown during New York Fashion Week in February 2015.

De la Renta had been looking for a successor for some time. Last year he gave a tryout to John Galliano, formerly of Dior, engaging Galliano for three weeks to work on the fall ready-to-wear collection.

Recently, De la Renta created the wedding gown and some of the trousseau Amal Alamuddin wore for her Sept. 27 wedding to George Clooney. Vogue reported that at Alamuddin’s final fitting, De La Renta spoke about the importance of a wedding dress, calling it “the most important dress in the life of a woman.”

A complete obituary of Oscar de la Renta is here.

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UPDATES

7:39 p.m.: This post has been updated throughout with details and analysis.

The first version of this post was published at 7:21 p.m.

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