Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta poses at The Colleagues 22nd Annual Spring Luncheon in Beverly Hills, California April 12, 2011. The Colleagues is a non-profit corporation that raises funds to benefit Children's Institute, Inc. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT FASHION)
There are a handful of fashion designers who have earned the coveted spot of 'household name'. Oscar de la Renta is at the top of an elite group of fashion deities who are known worldwide by fashion experts and neophytes alike.
De la Renta is a legendary designer who has produced timeless, old-world glamor since the mid-1960s. At 81, de La Renta is unstoppable, continuing to entrance fashion lovers with his luxurious ball gowns and his endlessly chic ready-to-wear garments. He will be showing his spring 2014 collection at New York Fashion Week later this month.
Besides his beautifully classic sartorial creations, the Latino designer has not forgotten his roots, which go back to the Dominican Republic. De La Renta has continued to showcase his love for his home country with philanthropic and business endeavors.
De la Renta, whose full name is Óscar Arístides Ortiz de la Renta Fiallo, was born in 1932 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. De la Renta was born to a Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father. The Fiallos occupied the elite of Dominican society, allowing Oscar to be exposed to a great deal of culture and the arts. De la Renta studied in Spain as a painter, where he gained an interest in fashion. De la Renta eventually began sketching for big Spanish fashion houses, and gained a coveted apprenticeship with legendary designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.
After working for various fashion houses, de la Renta launched his own fashion line in the 1960s. His line includes both couture and ready-to-wear. De la Renta also designed couture for Balmain, and launched his own bridal collection in 2006.
He has dressed the likes of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Jessica Parker (who are both his personal friends), Penelope Cruz, Nancy Reagan, and a host of other celebrities, both young and old.
His fashion house worth is estimated at over $100 million, earning him a spot on the list of richest Latinos in America, according to New York Magazine.
Yet, de la Renta has not forgotten his Dominican home, which, despite its luxe resorts and ideal weather, is plagued by poverty. Poverty causes an increase in orphaned children, most often because mothers lack the means to provide their children with adequate care. To ameliorate this problem, de la Renta founded the Casa del Niño orphanage and day care center in La Romana, which serves more than 1,200 children. The issue is also near and dear to his heart because he adopted a son, Moises, from a Dominican orphanage after hist first wife died of cancer in 1983.
He is also an Ambassador-at-large of the Dominican Republic, and holds dual citizenship in the United States and the Dominican Republic.
Additionally, de la Renta helps draw more tourism to the country. De la Renta developed the Punta Cana Resort & Club with his friend Julio Iglesias, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Dominican Republic has award him with the Juan Pablo Duarte Order of Merit and the Order of Cristóbal Colón for his philanthropic and diplomatic efforts. The iconic designer also serves on the boards of philanthropic institutions like New Yorkers for Children and the Americas Society.
De la Renta continues to inspire the fashion world as well as his home country, and is continuously looking toward the future.
"I love now and tomorrow," de la Renta told the Wall Street Journal. "What I did in the past doesn't interest me."