De la Renta

Oscar (1932). American designer. Born in Santo Domingo, De la Renta left the Dominican Republic to study art at the San Fernando Academy in Madrid. He developed an interest in sketching fashion designs, and his artistic talent led to a job working as an assistant to Balenciaga. In 1961 he moved to Lanvin, in Paris, where he assisted another Spanish-born designer, Castillo. In 1963 De la Renta left Europe for New York, where he began designing the fashion Collections for Elizabeth Arden. Two years later he founded his own fashion house, and, in Collections dedicated to themes such as ‘Gypsies’ and ‘Russia,’ quickly acquired a reputation for creating clothes with rich fabrics and a vibrant palette. Since then, and over the ensuing four decades, De la Renta has developed a distinctively American style of luxury that comes through strongly in both tailored daywear and lavishly decorated evening clothes. His fashion house also produces accessories, underwear and fragrances. In 1992 he was named artistic director of Balmain.
After ten years as design director of Balmain, De la Renta resigns his post, citing health reasons, and presents his own haute couture Collection in Paris. Laurent Mercier takes over as creative director of Balmain.
De la Renta is one of 11 designers invited to Beijing for the Fur Show Beijing 2002. Other U.S. designers include Vera Wang, Peter Som and Han-Feng, while Cavalli, Ferré and Max Mara represent Italy, and Lacroix, Givenchy, Gaultier and Rykiel are invited from France.
Signs a three-year licensing agreement with Rose Tree Linens of Dallas to launch a line of household linens for Spring-Summer 2004.
A new women’s sportswear Collection, O Oscar, is launched under a licensing agreement with the Kellwood Company. The new line includes accessories, lingerie and beachwear, with retail price points lower than the designer’s top ready-to-wear lines.
Alex Bolen, the designer’s son-in-law and director of corporate development since 2003, is appointed CEO. At the same time, Rachel Barnett resigns as Senior Vice-President after ten years with the firm.
Giuseppe Celio, formerly with Gianni Versace Distribution, is appointed Chief Financial Officer.