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From the red carpet to the White House, Oscar de la Renta designed timeless elegance

Renowned fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday at his home in Kent, Connecticut. He was 82.

Designer Oscar de la Renta poses with models after presenting his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson.

Designer Oscar de la Renta poses with models after presenting his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson.

A handwritten statement released by the designer’s stepdaughter and her husband did not specify the cause of death, according to the Associated Press. However, the New York Times reports that the designer had struggled with cancer for nearly eight years.

Known for his sleek women’s suits as well as his lavish eveningwear, de la Renta’s designs were favored by both red carpet celebrities and a number of the nation’s first ladies.

Hillary Clinton wears Oscar de la Renta at Bill Clinton's 1997 inaugural ball. Reuters.

Hillary Clinton wears Oscar de la Renta at Bill Clinton’s 1997 inaugural ball. Reuters.

The designer with former First Lady Laura Bush. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen.

Designer Oscar de la Renta with former first lady Laura Bush. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen.

The designer with former First Lady Nancy Reagan. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni.

Designer Oscar de la Renta with former first lady Nancy Reagan. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni.

A photo posted by @oscarprgirl on

Although de la Renta designed inaugural gowns for both Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush, First Lady Michelle Obama had never worn de la Renta’s designs until recently. In 2011, the designer criticized the First Lady for failing to wear an American label to a state dinner. Mrs. Obama appeared in a de la Renta dress for the first time at a cocktail party earlier this month.

Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, de la Renta traveled to Spain to study art at the age of 18. He got his start in the fashion industry as an apprentice to designer Cristobal Balenciaga in Madrid. He later moved to Paris, where he worked for Lanvin under Antonio Castillo, and then to New York, where he joined Elizabeth Arden couture. In 1965, he launched his own line.

Most recently, de la Renta was hailed for designing Amal Alamuddin’s dress for her wedding to George Clooney. On Tuesday, Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour wrote of the timeless nature of de la Renta’s designs:

“There is much being said that his passing yesterday marks the end of an era. Not true … he would have lived happily and defined any era.”

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