OSCAR DE LA RENTA
THE DESIGNER DRIPS WITH SUAVE, EVEN THROUGH A NAME CHANGE.
Byline: Etta Froio, July 1974
He weekends with C.Z. Guest, vacations with Gloria Guinness, island-hops with Babe Paley, dines with the Duchess of Windsor and Jackie O. Pat Buckley loves him as a dinner partner, Nan Kempner adores him, Mary Lazar says he’s simpatico, Louise Melhado has fun with him.
He’s tall, has handsome dark Latin looks and owns a New York apartment overlooking Central Park, a Connecticut weekend retreat and a place in the sun in his native land, the Dominican Republic.
He owns, along with partner Gerald Shaw, a successful ready-to-wear business and designs the kind of clothes the BP adore….At 41, Oscar de la Renta has a helluva lot going for him.
Of course, it didn’t hurt to have the right connections. His friendship with Ms. Guest led to introductions to all the right people when he came from Paris to New York in 1963 to join Elizabeth Arden….
And Oscar knows how to mix business with pleasure. The BP came to him, first at Arden, then at Jane Derby, the firm he joined in 1965 as designer and partner. After Ms. Derby retired, the firm was reorganized and renamed Oscar de la Renta….
Fans of la Renta [as he was known at the time] responded with enough orders to keep his workrooms busy. But no matter how friendly the Ladies are with Oscar, they can’t get it wholesale….
Oscar says he knows their life styles and what they want. “They influence me when I see them socially, the way they dress, the way they live. They have special needs and dress in a different way.
“A woman, whether she’s a woman of means or not, wants to walk into a department where she can find everything she likes, everything from $5 to $1,000. The price breakdown is not important. She may go in looking for a $25 shirt but see a beautiful crepe de chine for $100. If it suits her way of life, she’ll buy it.”