Anna Wintour Remembers “Extraordinary” Friend, Designer Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta and Anna Wintour
Anna Wintour wrote a tribute to her friend Oscar de la Renta Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

An icon remembers a fashion legend. Anna Wintour penned a tribute to her late friend Oscar de la Renta on Tuesday, Oct. 21, after the acclaimed designer passed away. 

The beloved de la Renta died at the age of 82 after suffering complications from a longtime battle with cancer. He was quickly honored by his friends and colleagues alike for his charming personality and his beautiful design work.

One such loved one who publicly paid tribute to the late star was Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. The British magazine maven, 64, wrote a piece about de la Renta on Vogue.com, touching on his legacy and their relationship. 

"He always said 'Accept your friends for who they are, not for who you want them to be,'" Wintour wrote of de la Renta. "Oscar was everything you could want a friend to be… He was happy dining with the rich and famous, for sure, but equally happy playing dominoes with his devoted staff… He would ask the concierge to dinner rather than dine alone."

De la Renta was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, but continued to fight, designing stunning gowns and separates until his last days. "His designs reflected his extraordinary personality: optimistic, fun, sunny, romantic," Wintour said. He famously took the honor of creating Amal Alamuddin's custom wedding gown that she wore to marry George Clooney last month. 

anna wintour and oscar de la renta
Anna Wintour and Oscar de la Renta during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2004 Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com

"He never once complained about his illness, always positive, always looking forward," Wintour wrote. "He was a tireless philanthropist — he and [wife] Annette [de la Renta] supported so many charities, some quite small and under the radar — and the most generous friend."

The glamorous fashion designer is survived by his wife Annette, whom he married in 1989. 

"Annette was his perfect partner, creating those magical houses and gardens together, giving extraordinary seemingly effortless dinners, and always taking care of each other," Wintour said of the couple. "She slept on a cot in the hospital every night he was there. Theirs was the greatest, most life-enhancing love affair. Last week in the hospital he said that she never wears the beautiful jewelry he gave her, and she said simply, 'I have you.'"

In his final days, de la Renta remained extraordinary, according to Wintour.

"He told me he felt he had had the most amazing life and he was not afraid," she writes. "This strength must have been with him in the hospital last week when he made the decision to turn off treatment; it was not the quality of life he wanted… His last words to me were I love you, and I said I love you back." 

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