Oscar de la Renta is a leading American fashion designer who has acquired the distinction as the first American designer to work for a French couture house. Born to a Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father, de la Renta studied painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. This led him to a design training under couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga with a subsequent move to Paris to work as couture assistant at Lanvin. On later arrival in New York, it was Diana Vreeland of American Vogue who advised him to work for Elizabeth Arden over Christian Dior, an opportunity that would provide better promotion to his talents as a designer of fashion. Two years later de la Renta launched his own ready-to-wear line.
Today he has his own accessories line, a women’s sportswear line ‘O’, a menswear line, a jeans line as well as numerous fragrances. De la Renta’s work continues to receive prestigious international recognition, receiving the Living Legend Award from the American Society of Perfumes in 1995, and CFDA Award for Womenswear Designer in 2000 and joint winner in 2008 with Proenza Schouler. He has also made notable contributions to the arts as a board member to The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall as well as charity organisations like New Yorkers for Children and the Americas Society.