I was deeply saddened to learn the passing of Mr. de la
Renta just one week ago today. My first and only encounter with the legendary
designer was at the wedding of his step-daughter Eliza Reed to Alexander Bolen
in June of 1998.  

Their nuptials took
place at the de la Renta estate in Kent, Connecticut. Having never attended a summertime society wedding, I was advised by my father
to purchase a hat for the occasion so out I went in search of the perfect
accompaniment to compliment my buttercup dress and coat ensemble.  We were shuttled to the property by coach and
escorted through the gorgeous gardens to the ceremony grounds.  It was a veritable sea of who’s who figures
from the worlds of fashion, media and international society, but what struck me
most was the vivid memory of how many dogs were in attendance.  Almost as many as guests!  

The weather was hot and muggy and a last
minute torrential downpour made its best attempts to put a damper on the
festivities. But not for long.  
As if taking a cue from the spirit in the skies, the rain began
to subside and out of the mist appeared the dashing Mr. de la Renta steering a golf cart with
one hand while simultaneously holding on to the bride-to-be with the
What very well could have been an
afternoon wedding of pomp and circumstance was properly replaced with a warmth
and effortless elegance that was welcome by all.  

Oscar de la Renta happened to embody elegance in every sense of the word endearing himself to throngs of
fans spanning the globe from first ladies and celebrities to socialites and
fashionistas. His
elegance did not threaten his masculinity.  On the contrary, it added to it. He was the quintessential gentleman, both
dapper and debonair who created a fashion empire that exemplified his zest for
life as well as his eye for quality and impeccable taste.  Flawlessly dressed for any occasion, his
sophistication and style went unrivaled setting a high bar for future male fashion designers
climbing the ranks.  His sun-kissed skin, amiable smile and
charming accent disarmed and captivated everyone he met. 

The Dominican-born American
icon didn’t skip a beat working tirelessly up to his final days including designing the
wedding dress for Amal Alamuddin who stole the heart of longtime bachelor George
Clooney.  He will forever be remembered for
his refinement and grace.