C California Style

Aerin Lauder in her off-the-shoulder silk gown, Wainscott, Long Island, N.Y., 1996.
Spring 2015 bridal collection dresses.
Spring 2015 bridal collection dresses.
A sketch the designer gifted to Lauder for her wedding.
Kate Bosworth wore a de la Renta-designed ivory radzimir-satin gown for her August 2013 nuptials to Michael Polish, held at The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, Mont.
De la Renta at his studio, 1998.
Miranda Brooks wed in a gypsy-inspired gown at a friend’s Long Island, N.Y., compound, 2010.
Maggie Rizer in a strapless gown with French lace detailing, Lake Placid, N.Y., 2010.

A Lasting Affair

by C California Style

A look back at Oscar de la Renta’s special relationship with the wedding dress.

Oscar De La Renta“The only manners I am interested in are the manners of the heart,” Oscar de la Renta told New York magazine in 2013. The sentiment is emblematic of the late Dominican Republic-born designer—an intimation of both his trademark wit and his legacy as the creative genius behind many seminal wedding dresses.

Despite the fact that he launched his bridal collection as recently as 2006, de la Renta’s history with high-profile brides dates back to 1965, when he was commissioned to create a knee-length white gabardine frock for automobile heiress Anne Ford’s nuptials (it was also the year he launched his own label and won a client and friend in Jacqueline Kennedy).

For Lauder, it was not only the dress but the relationship the collaboration encouraged.

It’s a testament to the icon’s remarkable staying power that such of-the-moment style-setters as actress Kate Bosworth, lifestyle brand scion Aerin Lauder, model Maggie Rizer and, most recently, insta-fashion phenom, British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin (aka Mrs. Clooney) trusted their momentous day to his inimitable vision: “It’s the most important dress in the life of a woman,” he told Vogue during a fitting with Alamuddin, whose off-the-shoulder A-line gown prompted WWD to proclaim de la Renta “the man of the hour.”

For Lauder, it was not only the dress but the relationship the collaboration encouraged. “He was so warm and kind to me when I was looking for my bridal gown; it was the first time we met and was the beginning of a special friendship that lasted over 20 years. Oscar also gave me a lovely sketch of the dress and a heartfelt note that I’ll cherish forever,” she says.

De la Renta’s penultimate bridal collection, Spring 2015, caters to every stripe of bride: from the all-out glamour of a tulle A-line silhouette with organza flower and sequin embroidery, to the contemporary elegance of a mikado trumpet number with a ruffle back, to the free-spirited non-dress that is an intricate white cotton eyelet bikini and pareo. They are each, above all, celebratory—a quality de la Renta embodied. “I always tell the girls to smile,” he revealed in a video for his 2013 retrospective at the Clinton Presidential Library. “I hate sad faces.” oscardelarenta.com.

By Melissa Goldstein.
Edited by Heather Severs.