Today is the late Oscar de la Renta’s birthday. The news of his passing shook the fashion world on October 20th of last year, but his legacy lives on. When thinking about his greatest achievements, the first ideas that may come to mind are his elegant, one-of-a-kind gowns that have traversed countless red carpets and his ready-to-wear line that defined the term “casual luxury” for women. But beyond his work, he exerted the same passion and discipline he had for fashion into many other aspects of his life. So as a tribute to him, we’ve gathered five lesser known facts about the man himself:
1) The Boy Scout Uniform
The iconic Boy Scout uniform we know today was actually re-designed by Oscar de la Renta in 1978. Evolving from the serious military-like design, Oscar re-imagined the look with an olive/tan colour palette, safari shirts, handkerchief ties, and khaki shorts to create the smart, yet functional uniform we still use today.
2) A Family Man
Oscar was a man that devoted much of his life to his family. He made many charitable donations in his life but the most notable one was building an orphanage school named “Casa del Niño in La Romana” in his hometown which takes care of 1200 kids a day. His close relationship with orphans later on allowed him to adopt his only son Moises. The Oscar de la Renta brand is also a family business, a place where Moises, son-in-law Alex, and stepdaughter Eliza all now work.
3) A Singer
One of passion de la Renta’s many passions was actually singing. He even released a Spanish album titled “Recordando Amores Imposible”. He’s been known to sing for many audiences including the Fashion Night Out event in New York with Sarah Jessica Parker; a true showman!
4) Garden Keeper
Another prized body of work of Oscar’s is his home garden in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. His garden has been featured in his book, “The Style, Inspiration, and Life of Oscar de la Renta” and several other publications. It’s a fascinating sight to see an artist who was considered as one of the greatest in his field work his magic in a completely different division; nothing short of expected.
“You have to appreciate every single day that you’re alive. Life is a little bit like a garden — you have to find time to plant the seeds for beautiful flowers to grow. “ – Oscar de la Renta
5) Lover of Dominoes
De la Renta was known to enjoy a game of dominoes with family and friends on his off time. He even later came out with a set of luxury dominoes. Nice to know a man who had a fashion empire also took time to indulge in simple entertainment.
“He’s a total diplomat, but just as happy playing dominoes in the kitchen with his chef” – Anna Wintour
Happy Birthday, Oscar. You are greatly missed!