The Couture Council of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology will honor Oscar de la Renta with its award for Artistry of Fashion.

This story first appeared in the November 7, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I am always surprised by any honor,” de la Renta said. “But I am unbelievably proud and deeply honored.

“I am so proud my success has happened here. There is no other country in the world that gives the opportunities to foreigners that this one does. I am very proud to be an important part of what the American fashion industry has become,” he said. “I have been a witness to all kinds of change in American fashion. Today great American designers and brands are recognized worldwide.”

Following in the footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino, de la Renta will be honored at a luncheon on Sept. 12 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

According to Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT, De la Renta’s work with Cristobal Balenciaga, Lanvin and a 10-year run at the house of Balmain helped earn him points. “With Balmain, he was the first American to be asked to design for a French house,” she said. “It seemed to us when you think of haute couture, there are no limits but Oscar drew from that experience and created ready-to-wear that has incredible workmanship that also had a bit of a timeless quality. Oscar really knows who he is and who he is dressing. He knows all these incredible women of style and also lives their lifestyle.”

As for how he envisioned success when his career was just getting off the ground, de la Renta said, “In life you always have to hope for the best, aim high and fulfill all your aspirations.”

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