How Oscar de la Renta charmed those of us who never got to wear his dresses

Oscar de la Renta, a class act to the end.
Oscar de la Renta, a class act to the end.
Image: Reuters/Alberto Lowe
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Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died yesterday, at age 82. The Dominican-born designer dressed first ladies, Hollywood stars, uptown socialites, and fortunate brides—most recently, Amal Clooney. The romantic, Latin spirit that imbued de la Renta’s strongest designs was not only aesthetic; it was part of his character, and it made him magnetic.

In 2011, when de la Renta launched a fragrance, I had a chance to chat with him. The conversation turned to dancing and singing, which he loved. I asked if he remembered the last song he listened to in the studio. He sighed.

“Not really,” he said. “I was the other day singing a song that I haven’t sang for a long time, which has one phrase that I love. It says, ‘I don’t know really what new mystery this night will bring.’ Nunca sabe que misterio nos trae esta noche. Isn’t that beautiful? I don’t know what mystery this night will bring. That’s the expectation, the hope.”

Thanks to Erika Bearman, better known as Oscar PR Girl on Instagram, a new generation—many of whom may never be able to afford de la Renta’s dresses—has fallen in love with the designer. Here is a handful of images of Oscar de la Renta and his work that Bearman has shared:

A #tbt with Jerry Hall.

Fall 2014 collection, video by James Nord.

Oscar de la Renta earrings, Harper’s Bazaar Spain.

Oscar de la Renta, 1976.

A #tbt with Jerry Hall, Billie Blair, Pat Cleveland, Oscar de la Renta, Andre Leon Talley, and Dalma Callado

Spring 2013.

Spring 2014.