Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died at the age of 82. The cause of death was complications from cancer, his wife confirmed to the New York Times. De la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932. He left home at the age of 18 to study painting in Madrid, Spain but decided instead to pursue fashion design. He eventually worked as an apprentice to Cristobal Balenciaga, Spain’s most celebrated couturier.
The young designer made a name for himself when he dressed former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the 1960s. After launching his own line, de la Renta became known for creating elaborate feminine gowns that were often worn by first ladies including Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.
“Oscar’s remarkable eye was matched only by his generous heart. His legacy of philanthropy extended from children in his home country who now have access to education and healthcare, to some of New York’s finest artists whose creativity has been sustained through his support,” Bill and Hillary Clinton said in a statement. “We will always be grateful to Oscar for the love he showed us, and for sharing his talent on some of the most important occasions of our lives.” De la Renta also dressed socialites in his couture creations, and his gowns were red carpet staples with celebrities including Oprah, Sarah Jessica Parker and more wore his designs year after year. Most recently, he collaborated with Amal Clooney on her wedding gown, which was accompanied by a spread in the November issue of Vogue.
De la Renta was married twice. His first wife, Françoise de Langlade, was a former editor of French Vogue, she died of bone cancer in 1983. The couple had been married for 16 years. The designer adopted a son soon after his first wife’s death and married socialite Annette Engelhard Reed in 1989. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. De la Renta presented his Spring 2015 collection at the New York Fashion Week in September.