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Oscar de la Renta, the worldly gentleman designer who shaped the wardrobe of socialites and Hollywood stars for more than four decades, has died. He was 82.
De la Renta died at home Monday evening in Connecticut surrounded by family and friends and "more than a few dogs," according to a handwritten statement signed by two of his company's executives, Alex Bolen and Eliza Bolen.
"While our hearts are broken by the idea of life without Oscar, he is still very much us. Oscar's hard work, his intelligence and his love of life are at the heart of our company," the statement said. "All that we have done, and all that we will do, is informed by his values and his spirit. Through Oscar's example we know the way forward. We will make Oscar very proud of us by continuing in an even stronger way the work that Oscar loved so much."
The late '60s and early '70s were a defining moment in U.S. fashion as New York-based designers finally carved a look of their own that was finally taken seriously by Europeans. De la Renta and his peers, including the late Bill Blass, Roy Halston and Geoffrey Beene, defined American style — and their influence is still spotted today.
De la Renta's specialty was eveningwear, though he also was known for chic daytime suits favored by the women who would gather at the Four Seasons or Le Cirque at lunchtime. His signature looks were voluminous skirts, exquisite embroideries and rich colors.
Most recently, Amal Alamuddin wore a de la Renta-designed wedding dress when she married George Clooney. First lady Laura Bush wore an icy blue gown by de la Renta to the 2005 inaugural ball and Hillary Clinton wore a gold de la Renta in 1997. On the red carpet at the Academy Awards, Penelope Cruz and Sandra Bullock were among the celebrities to don his feminine and opulent gowns. His clothes even were woven into episodes of "Sex and the City" with style icon character Carrie Bradshaw dropping his name — and comparing his designs to poetry.
"We will miss Oscar's generous and warm personality, his charm, and his wonderful talents." Bush said in a statement. "My daughters and I have many fond memories of visits with Oscar, who designed our favorite clothes, including Jenna's wedding dress. We will always remember him as the man who made women look and feel beautiful."
De la Renta's path to New York's Seventh Avenue took an unlikely route: He left his native Dominican Republic at age 18 to study painting in Spain but soon became sidetracked by fashion. The wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Spain saw some of his sketches and asked him to make a dress for her daughter — a dress that landed on the cover of Life magazine.
That led to an apprenticeship with Cristobal Balenciaga, and then de la Renta moved to France to work for couture house Lanvin. By 1963, he was working for Elizabeth Arden couture in New York and in 1965 had launched his own label.
He told the AP in 2004 that his Hispanic roots worked their way into his designs.
"I like light, color, luminosity. I like things full of color and vibrant," he said.
And while de la Renta made Manhattan his primary home, he often visited the Dominican Republic and kept a home there. Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour was a frequent visitor and she has said traveling with him was like traveling with the president. "He's a superstar," she said.
He also had a country home in northwestern Connecticut. Gardening and dancing were among his favorite diversions from work. "I'm a very restless person. I'm always doing something. The creative process never stops," he said.
As a designer, De la Renta always catered to his socialite friends and neighbors — as the designer and his wife, Annette, were fixtures on the black-tie charity circuit — but he did make occasional efforts to reach the masses, including launching a mid-priced line in 2004 and developing a dozen or so perfumes, the first, called Oscar, was introduced in 1977 and more recently, Rosamor.
He was an avid patron of the arts, serving as a board member of The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall, among others, and he devoted considerable time to children's charity, including New Yorkers for Children. He also helped fund schools and day-care centers in La Romana and Punta Cana in his native country.
The Dominican Republic honored de la Renta with the order al Merito de Juan Pablo Duarte and the order of Cristobol Colon. Here in the U.S., he received the Coty American Fashion Critics Award twice, was named womenswear designer of the year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2000 and also received a lifetime achievement award from the CFDA — an organization for which he served as president in the 1980s.
In addition to his own label, de la Renta spearheaded the Pierre Balmain collection from 1993-2002, marking the first time an American designed for a French couture house, and he was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur as a Commandeur. He also received the Gold Medal Award from the king and queen of Spain.
De la Renta gave up the title of chief executive of his company in 2004, handing over business duties to stepdaughter Eliza Reed Bolen and her husband, Alex Bolen, but he remained active on the design end, continuing to show his collections during New York Fashion Week.
De la Renta also is survived by an adopted son, Moises, a designer at the company.
De la Renta's first wife, French Vogue editor Francoise de Langlade, died in 1983.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:36:02 -0700
The U.S. government issued an urgent plea to more than 4.7 million people to get the air bags in their cars fixed, amid concern that a defect in the devices can possibly kill or injure the driver or passengers.
The inflator mechanisms in the air bags can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed in crashes. Safety advocates say at least four people have died from the problem and there have been multiple injuries.
Multiple automakers have recalled vehicles in the U.S. over the past two years to repair air bag inflators made by Takata Corp., a Tokyo-based supplier of seat belts, air bags, steering wheels and other auto parts. In a statement Monday, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration warned owners of those cars to act right away.
The agency has been investigating the problem since June, and has cited reports of six inflators rupturing, causing three injuries.
Worldwide, automakers have recalled about 12 million vehicles because of the problem.
The warning covers cars made by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, General Motors and Ford. Passenger or driver air bags or both could have the faulty inflators. Safety advocates say the problem could affect more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S.
The rare action by federal regulators comes three weeks after a Sept. 29 crash near Orlando, Florida, that claimed the life of a 46-year-old woman. In that crash, Hien Thi Tran suffered severe neck wounds that could have been caused by metal fragments flying out of the air bag on her 2001 Honda Accord. Her Accord was among the models being recalled.
One police agency concluded that the air bags caused her wounds, while another is still investigating. NHTSA is seeking information in the case.
Toyota on Monday issued a recall covering passenger air bags in 247,000 older model vehicles including the Lexus SC, Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia and Tundra. Like many earlier recalls, Toyota's covers vehicles in South Florida, along the Gulf Coast, in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa — all areas that have high absolute humidity.
Toyota said it's working with Takata to pinpoint the cause of the rupture and to gauge the influence of high absolute humidity, which is a measurement of water vapor in the air.
Toyota could expand the recall to more areas pending further testing, according to spokesman John Hanson. Toyota says it knows of no crashes or injuries in the recalled cars.
NHTSA urged people to check if their car has been recalled.
Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, estimated there are 20 million to 25 million cars in the U.S. alone that are equipped with the faulty air bags.
In the Florida case, Tran turned left in front of another vehicle and the front ends collided. Her air bag inflated. The original report on the death said the seat belt could not have cut the right side of her neck. Also, there was no broken glass and no other apparent cause of the neck wounds.
Initially the case was turned over to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, whose homicide investigators determined that the air bag caused Tran's neck injuries, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Because the death appears to be traffic-related, the matter was sent back to the Florida Highway Patrol, which has not finished its investigation.
The Highway Patrol will call in an air bag expert to help make the determination, said Sgt. Kim Montes. The car's steering wheel and spokes were not damaged and appeared to be a normal air bag deployment, she said. Investigators also will look for evidence of metal fragments in the car and try to determine what caused Tran's neck wounds, Montes said.
Last week, two U.S. senators questioned why the safety agency is limiting the recall to certain regions.
They cited the May 27, 2009, death of 18-year-old Ashley Parham of Oklahoma City as proof the problem can occur in areas where humidity isn't so prevalent. Parham was driving a 2001 Honda Accord across a high school parking lot in Midwest City, Oklahoma, when it hit another car. The air bag inflated and sent shards of metal into her neck, causing her death.
Takata said Monday it supports Toyota's recall decision and will continue to support NHTSA and its customers with replacement parts and technical analysis.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:58:51 -0700
This weekend the eyes of world will be on San Francisco as the Giants host two - possibly three games of the World Series.
"The first Giants home game on StubHub the get in price is around $500," said Cameron Papp of StubHub.
But that price is just for standing room only. If you want to sit down get ready to pay a lot more. "From $500 to around $10,000 and those are for luxury suite tickets lower box tickets," said Papp. Thankfully the fees are included in the price.
But with big games, comes scams. StubHub says it's aware of this and the company has a partnership with Major League Baseball.
So if you buy your ticket with StubHub, Papp says it is the real deal. "A seller couldn't potentially take a ticket and put it on StubHub and print it out and sell it somewhere else. Because once it’s sold on StubHub that barcode is then canceled," says Papp.
Meanwhile, hotels in the area are getting booked up with Giants fans. "Friday morning the phones were off the hook. The reservation department kept getting bombarded with phone calls," said Tina Keramari of San Francisco's Chancellor Hotel.
A quick look online showed hotel prices upwards of $300 per night this weekend. KTVU also checked out Airbnb prices that ranged from $60 to more than $4,000 a night.
If you want to be adventurous you can get a tent and camping gear for $65 a night. If that's not your style, on the opposite end you can get a house that sleeps 40 for $4,332 a night.
Either way you go, it's best to act on your sleeping arrangements fast.
"Always call ahead of time. I would never wait for the day of to see what's going on." said Keramari.Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:15:26 -0700 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories