Oscar de la Renta, the Dominican-born fashion designer who reshaped the public image of first ladies, society muses and red-carpet regulars with grand evening wear that celebrated Latin sensuality, European refinement and American versatility, died Monday at his home in Kent, Conn. He was 82.
His death was confirmed by his wife, Annette de la Renta. He was ill with cancer intermittently for a decade.
An astute businessman with an eye for vibrant color, Mr. de la Renta spent a half-century polishing his eponymous label into a global empire that sold perfume, accessories, furniture and, above all, elegant clothing.
During a half-century of prominence on New York's fashion nexus — Seventh Avenue — he asserted himself as a creative entrepreneur and vivacious society player who gained access to the nation's most esteemed women and an invitation to define how the public saw them.
Manhattan doyennes, Hollywood stars and Washington figures sought out his label. He designed then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's coral swearing-in ensemble in 1997 and first lady Laura Bush's twinkling beaded inaugural gown in 2005.
His name became linked to celebrity events like the Oscars. Amy Adams, Sarah Jessica Parker and Penélope Cruz were among the stars who wore his dresses.
Recently his biggest coup was to make the ivory tulle gown that Amal Alamuddin wore to wed George Clooney in Venice.
Information from the New York Times was used in this report.