Oscar de la Renta, the international fashion designer whose romantic, glamorous clothing has draped the figures of important women from Jackie Kennedy to Lupita Nyong'o, from Michelle Obama to Amal Alamuddin-Clooney, died Monday at 82 after a long battle with cancer. Born in 1932 in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, de la Renta was the youngest of seven children, and the only boy in his family. His father wanted him to become an insurance salesman, but his mother prevailed, and Oscar was sent to Madrid to study art. He later went on to dress numerous first ladies, as well as see his styles grace the covers of the most influential fashion magazines. In short, he became a global design icon—and not just for fashion, either.
In the 1970s, de La Renta and his first wife Françoise de Langlade built a house in the Dominican Republic, called Casa de Campo, which was designed by the Florida architect William Cox. The beach bungalow came with a thatched roof, hammocks, and rattan furniture. Perhaps due to its breezy, perfectly 1970s vibe, it attracted so many illustrious guests that Françoise later referred to it as "the VIP lounge of the international airport." In 1974, Casa de Campo was photographed for Vogue by Horst P. Horst. The photos, which burst with plants, wood and sepia tones, are pretty much perfect.
Here's how the couple explained their design choices to Vogue in 1974:
"To us the luxury of having a beach house is to be able to walk barefoot into the living room and sit without worrying if your bathing suit is wet. Everything costs the minimum, everything is replaceable and washable. The only things here of value are antique Chinese porcelain fish that we keep filled with flowers."
"We tried to keep to the colors of the island—no violent reds, blues, yellows."
"We decided a house on the sand, surrounded by blue water, should be cool and dim inside."
"Apart from a few batiks, all the pillows and cushions on the cane furniture throughout the house are natural canvas or white handkerchief linen. I brought bolts of cloth with me, had almost everything made here."
· Oscar de la Renta, Who Clothed Stars and Became One, Dies at 82 [New York Times]
· House of Breezes - Oscar and Francoise de La Renta [Featherstone Vintage]
· All Dwelling posts [Curbed National]