Luxury Fashion Brand Report: Oscar de la Renta

Should You Pay Your Rent or Buy a De la Renta?

With so many fashion brands in the market, how can you know which one is worth your money? Well, if you can pay for the merchandise. 

This is pretty much a tricky question, even if we just think about a couple of brands or stores in the industry. Still, if you have your own preferences about fashion designers, materials, style, and more aspects that can take you to a decision, it doesn’t have to be that hard. 

In our case with luxury brands, we aren’t rich to live buying everything in-store, but we do spend some of our money with certain items that are affordable and of our taste. 

But if we have to decide to invest in specific brands, Oscar de la Renta is always included among the ones we must buy no matter what. 

For decades this fashion brand has offered amazing ready-to-wear pieces and beautiful designs that are quite different from what we’re used to seeing from brands like Dior, Ralph Lauren, and Chanel. 

Thus, we are quite comfortable with what we can access and with the costs as well when compared to other luxury brands. 

If you haven’t gotten the chance to enjoy an Oscar de la Renta or don’t even know much about the brand, we are here to stimulate your brain with some information. 

Oscar de la Renta: The Designer Behind the Brand

Like every other luxury brand, its name comes from the founder and designer themselves, so it is only logical that we have to go over the person that decided to start the empire and make it what it is today. 

Although he is known with the name of his actual brand, his real and full name is Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo.

He was born on July 22, 1932, in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). His mother, Carmen María Antonia Fiallo, was Dominican, while his father, Óscar Avelino De La Renta, was Puerto Rican and the owner of an insurance company. 

Óscar was raised in a Catholic family with six sisters, all of them older than the man himself. 

During his childhood, the Fiallos, his mother’s family, were quite famous in Dominican society and part of a high status, which led them to know many individuals like scholars, businessmen, and top army members, among many others. 

Several maternal family members were quite outstanding in different areas, including an uncle who studied for doctor, lawyer, and architect, while others were diplomats and even poets. 

Having being raised Catholic in a very overprotective family, there aren’t many details about Oscar’s life. 

We know from his early years that De la Renta was studying painting at Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. 

Around this time, his mother died from multiple sclerosis complications when he was about 18 years old.

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During his years as an art student, he also sketched clothes for newspapers and fashion houses to make money. 

This is when Francesca Lodge, the wife of U.S. Ambassador John Davis Lodge, saw Oscar’s 1956 sketches and hired him to create a coming-out gown for her.

De la Renta wouldn’t know that this would be the start of a design career that he aspired a bit when going for the art area. 

The cover of Life magazine featured the gown, and soon, de la Renta began drawing designs for Spanish fashion houses. 

He was also offered an apprenticeship with Cristóbal Balenciaga (respected couturier), who became his mentor and great designer we have covered in our blog before. 

Oscar moved to Paris in 1961 to work as a couture assistant for Antonio del Castillo. 

Starting His Own Empire

Although he was having a successful career as an assistant and growing his skills, like every designer, Oscar wanted to have his own brand and get into something he truly desired to work on. 

Thus, De la Renta sought advice from Diana Vreeland, who was the editor-in-chief of “Vogue” at the time in 1963. 

He told her that he wanted to get into ready-to-wear because that is where the money’s at. As a result, she advised him to work with Elizabeth Arden, arguing that his reputation would grow faster as she wasn’t a designer who would be willing to promote him. 

This was very important advice for Oscar’s career since he was in Dior’s shadow in the place he was working at the moment. 

Thus, to achieve the goal proposed by Arden, De la Renta served and worked for her for two years before moving to America to work with Jane Derby, an American fashion house. 

However, not long after he moved to the place, Derby died in 1965, and De la Renta assumed control of the label. 

During this year, Oscar de la Renta also launched his ready-to-wear label, which became the start of his real designer career. 

Three years later, he was awarded the Neiman Marcus Award in Fashion for Distinguished Service. 

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He designed haute couture collections for French fashion house Balmain from 1993 to 2002, but before these years, De la Renta was already growing in the business, and his designs were part of the most requested in society. 

Although his label is kind of new compared to other luxury brands, it hasn’t fallen behind thanks to his incredible design. 

In 2006, he started offering bridal wear and added customized or already made designs. 

He has had many well-known brides wear his wedding gowns, including Jenna Bush and Amal Clooney. 

De la Renta opened his Manhattan flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York City in 2004, and in 2008, he opened his first international shops in Madrid, Spain, and Athens, Greece. 

In 2012, he launched a line for children’s clothing. The William S. Clinton Presidential Center featured the exhibit “Oscar de la Renta, American Icon” the year after. Another followed in 2014 with the George W. Bush Presidential Center exhibition “Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style.”

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His Life: What Happened to the Great Designer?

Oscar de la Renta has a successful life since he was able to launch his own ready-to-wear collection and brought many famous people to his side along with the masses that preferred what he had to offer. 

Well, this is the part of his life we’re interested in the most, but what about other aspects? Like who he married, or where is he right now? 

Not many know that Oscar married editor-in-chief from “French Vogue,” Françoise de Langlade in 1967. Although this was quite public, the reason behind some misinformation for some new people interested in it is that they were still together until her death from cancer in 1983. 

Although they were married for over a decade, De la Renta and Langlade didn’t have any children, and after his wife died, Oscar adopted a Dominican Republic child named Moisés, who was born in 1984. 

He followed his father’s footsteps in fashion design. However, they had their own issues after his son decided to create a women’s fashion line in 2005. 

Before this incident and after the death of Langlade, Oscar married Annette Engelhard in 1989. As a result, he was also stepfather to Eliza, Beatrice, and Charles. 

Eliza decided to help with the fashion business and today is LLC’s Vice President of Licensing in the label. Her husband, Alex Bolen, serves as the CEO. 

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De la Renta was both a citizen of the U.S. as well as the Dominican Republic. In 1982, he established La Casa del Niño, an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. He was also an Ambassador-at-Large for the Dominican Republic and held a diplomatic passport. 

Oscar was Chairman of The Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, Carnegie Hall, WNET, and the Metropolitan Opera, which means he had much more influence than his own fashion label. 

Unfortunately, Oscar was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, and although he was clear after a year, he fell into the disease once more and died in his Connecticut home on October 20, 2014. 

Annette and Oscar were married until his death, so the love story was this time finished with the departure of one of the best designers at the age of 82. 

What Is So Special About Oscar de la Renta?

Although we could go on with the unique skills of the designer, we will be focusing on the luxury brand more than anything else, and the rest will just connect. 

Like every fashion house, they are known for specific designs and styles that make people prefer some pieces over others in specific moments or when it is about specific clothing to wear.

In the case of Oscar de la Renta, the brand was blessed with the consistency in the aesthetic of the great designer. 

He was very well-known for thinking about women’s bodies and lines to create the best designs. This is why ladylike bows and elegant skirts are among the unique styles people love about the brand. 

Satin was also a material preferred by the designer since the 80s, and this marked quite a new time for fashion when more women started to use it thanks to De la Renta’s collections. 

Voluminous shoulders and sleeves were popular during this decade and part of De la Renta’s great designs. 

Of course, he didn’t start the label in the 80s, as you already know, so this means he had to do more than just the previous elements, as delicate silk prints are also part of the brand’s signature. 

Well, the brand has had a great way to stay relevant over the years, and his founder made sure of most of it before retiring as the main designer. 

Also, in the 70s and with the success of the first collections, the launch of a perfume in the later years of the decade brought more relevancy along with the soft silhouettes and casual luxury he focused on.

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The big boom for the house continued to come when it expanded into diffusion and bridal lines that are now signatures of De la Renta along with the haute couture collections designed for Balmain with previously mentioned. 

Actually, the collections for Balmain made De la Renta the first Dominican to design for a French couture house, and many who were still preferring other fashion brads and houses put their eyes on the label. 

Inside Its Price – How Much Is a De la Renta?

Another tough question. Why do we do this? 

Answering how much luxury brands’ products cost is a sensitive topic for us because it is clear they aren’t cheap, and we could consider them affordable depending on the collection and line. Still, it also depends on how much people can pay for things when compared to other products. 

However, we are guessing you’re curious to know whether you will be able ever to buy one or if they are truly worth the bucks you will need to spend. 

Well, it is a bit hard to go over all the prices, so remember we always include an average based on the line, collection, and items that can help you as guides: 

  • Ready-to-wear: Dresses from $1.690 to $6.990; gowns and caftans from $3.290 to $26.890; blouses and knits start at $690 and go as high as $3.790; jackets and coats from $2.390 to $4.990; finally, pants and skirts go from $690 to $3.990. 
  • Handbags and accessories: This line includes handbags, small leather goods, belts and scarves, and home accessories which range from $75 to $9.990. Shoes are also included in this section and start at $790 all the way to $1.590.
  • Bridal collection: It includes all the designs of the last five seasons, but you must request the cost in a nearby store for any of the designs as this is the most expensive line. 
  • Bridal shop: This section doesn’t include gowns but rather some accessories for the bride and additional clothes that go from $290 to $5.990.
  • Jewelry: Earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and brooches, and hair accessories are included here and start at $190 all the way to $1.090.
  • Children’s collection: Dresses are the only pieces and range from $290 to $690. 
  • Women’s fragrances and bath bodies: Fragrances start at $82 and can cost up to $120; bath bodies include deodorants and other products, which cost about $25-75.

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You can also have a look at all the latest collections based on the season. For example, in Fall, you can go back to collections from 2-3 years ago and have a look at the current one. 

How much do you think the entire fashion brand is worth with these costs and averages in mind?

Actually, there aren’t specific reports of how much the brand is worth as of 2021. Instead, people tend to focus on how much Oscar was worth at the time of his death, which we can tell you his net worth was set at about $200 million. 

However, in 2014, the fashion brand was worth about $400 million, and its success has only increased even after the founder’s death. 

Thus, many argue that Oscar de la Renta is very near the $1 billion mark, but we can just wait to see if Forbes or other reliable sources will include it in the next list. 

Oscar de la Renta + Celebrities? It Happens!

The luxury fashion brand isn’t particularly considered one that uses many celebrities nor endorses as many as other fashion houses. 

However, the relationship of the former designer with dozens of them was quite peculiar, and people loved using his customized designs. 

Many continue choosing the brand’s dresses and gowns, and you can see many of those female stars shine on the carpet with one of them. 

Some of the most popular celebrities include Taylor Swift, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, Scarlett Johansson, and Amal Clooney. 

Of course, the fashion brand does endorse certain individuals like Adriano Espaillat, who was a senator. 

Others like Julia Nobis, Misty Copeland, and Shonda Rhimes are included on the list.

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Amal Clooney’s gown designer by De la Renta himself is one of the most beautiful and popular ones so far. People never forget about it, considering it was designed before the great founder passed away. 

Finally, we can include other celebrities and important people that love wearing Oscar de la Renta like Paris Hilton, Celine Dion, Julia Roberts, Billie Eilish, Laura Bush, and Oprah Winfrey. 

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Written by Dame Cash

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