Few designers adhere to the mantra of keeping it ‘Made in America’ more than design powerhouse Oscar de la Renta. Born of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta became an American citizen in 1971 and has since remained steadfast in keeping his fashion made in New York City, having recently relocated his headquarters from NYC’s Garment District to a much larger space on 42nd Street.
De la Renta emerged onto the fashion scene in the ’60s following successful apprenticeships under Cristobal Balenciaga and Lanvin before designing custom clothing for Elizabeth Arden. Two years following his work under Arden, de la Renta launched his own line.
Receiving continual international recognition in the fashion world, including the Council of Fashion Designers Designer of the Year Award in 2000 and 2007 and the CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990, de la Renta has secured his place among America’s most iconic designers.
His fashions have graced the shoulders of First Ladies Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton (most notably on the cover of Vogue in ’98) and Laura Bush, even outfitting the former president’s daughter Jenna Bush on her wedding day.
Having dressed every first lady for the past three decades, excluding Michelle Obama, de la Renta drew headlines in January following the first lady’s decision to wear British Designer Alexander McQueen at the White House’s state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao.
“My understanding is that the visit was to promote American-Chinese trade,” the designer told Women’s Wear Daily. “Why do you wear European clothes? I’m not talking about my clothes, my business. I’m old, and I don’t need it. But there are a lot of young people, very talented people here who do.”
De la Renta clearly understands the need to keep fashion made in the USA and the social responsibility Americans have to support domestic designers. With such exquisite designs, de la Renta has continued to dazzle the fashion world for the past five decades and as such has an extensive repertoire under his design belt. The following looks are among Haute Americana’s favorites.