Oscar de la Renta, Icon of Style…
Your passion for art started when you came to Madrid to study painting, what made you move to a country, which at the time was going through many cultural changes? How did you become interested in the world of fashion?
-I went to Spain to become a painter, but to prove to my father that I could earn
money I also took some fashion-illustrator jobs at newspapers. My interest in the
world of design grew more and more, and I was later hired by Balenciaga as an
illustrator and eventually as a designer.
From the beginning you showed great talent and worked with leading fashion designers such as Balenciaga and Antonio Castillo. What did you learn from these legends?
-Working for incredible talents like Balenciaga and Antonia Castillo, I learned about
the extraordinary artistry and immense skill involved in couture collections. Today
I apply some of that same detailing and craftsmanship to my own designs.
You say “the best way to dress is when you are noticed first by your presence
and then by what you wear. Please give us an example?
-The first time you see a bride walking down the aisle. In that moment, it is not
about the veil or the gown – all eyes are on the girl.
You have created your line of jewelry, eyewear, perfume and accessories, and have worked as the couture designer for Balmain. What made you decide to design a prêt-à-porter bridal collection?
-I have been designing and producing wedding gowns for private clients for years. In
fact, the demand was so great that we decided to design and show a complete
collection. The new ready-to-wear bridal line was a way for us to expand and reach
women around the world.
This is your second bridal collection; the first one received an overwhelming
response in the United States and South America. How do you see the Spanish bridal
-We are very excited to bring our bridal collection to Spain. My Latin background
largely influences my designs, which will make the collection easier for Spanish
brides to identify with right from the start. Also, our wonderful selection of
romantic and classic bridal gowns will be perfect for the Spanish bride, whose style
tends to be more traditional and timeless.
How would you define Spanish woman?
-Spanish women are bold and passionate. They are not about minimalism – in life and
with fashion, they are colorful, spirited, and feminine.
How has your Latin blood influenced your designs?
-My Latin heritage has influenced me never to hold back. This innate passion
surfaces in the beautiful embellishments, intricate laces, and ornate embroideries
of my designs. Also, having grown up on the islands of the Dominican Republic, I have come to believe that there must always be an easiness to clothes, even with the most serious and glamorous of gowns.
Has your last bridal collection been inspired by your past collections of
prêt-à-porter evening gowns, and do you intend to reflect that traditional bridal
fashion is evolving into something new?
I approach bridal differently from ready-to-wear, but there are similar threads
running through both collections because I always design with one goal in mind – to
make a woman look her best.
How did you maintain the same classic and elegant look without being influenced by the last avant-garde trends seen in the last collection?
-A bridal gown should be fresh and fashionable, but it is also important for it to
have a sense of timelessness. A wedding is a very special day for a girl, one that
she will look back on forever. Twenty, thirty, even forty years later, she should
still find her gown beautiful and be happy with how she looked on that big day.
What are your rules for creating a feminine and sensual woman?
-The key to making a woman look beautiful is making her feel beautiful. That is when
she will look her best.
You arrived in the United States with a lot of illusions and achieved a great
deal in a short time span. Is there a secret formula for success in life?
-There is no real secret to my success. I love what I’m doing and I work hard at it.
I have spent over forty years learning about our customer and how to make clothes
well. For me, my great joy and pleasure is being at work, and being in my studio
designing a collection.
Most of the people who know you describe you as being very humane. Is this true?
-I hope so. I have always remained true to my Latin roots, whether it’s helping
build much needed schools and day-care centers in my native country, the Dominican
Republic, or serving on the boards of important institutions like the Americas
Society and the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute.
I am also immensely grateful to the United States for all it has given me. As an
active board member of New Yorkers for Children, The Metropolitan Opera, and
Carnegie Hall, I am able to give back and also support the arts, my other true