Fashion lovers mourned the loss of some of their favorite designers in 2015. From mainstays like Oscar de la Renta to up-and-comers like Simon Spurr, these are the designers we lost this year.
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Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta (July 22, 1932 – October 20, 2014) was a Dominican-American fashion designer. Born in Santo Domingo, he was trained by Antonio del Castillo. He relocated to Madrid at the height of Francoism in the 1950s, and became one of the leading figures in Spanish haute couture. His first collection in 1966 made him internationally known. In 1971 he expanded his business to include perfumes for women and men and went on to design costumes for films such as Great Expectations and Funny Face. He opened his first boutique in New York City in 1972. De la Renta became one of the leading fashion designers of the 1970s. He was named one of ten artisans of fashion by ARTnews magazine in 1972, and one of eight those most distinguished in their field by Time magazine in 1974
L’Wren Scott (April 28, 1964 – March 17, 2014) was an American fashion designer and stylist. She was born Luann Bambrough in Salt Lake City, Utah and started her career as a model in Paris at age 18. After moving to Los Angeles, she began working as a stylist for celebrities such as Sharon Stone, Anouk Aimee, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Scott also designed costumes for films such as Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). In 2006, Scott launched her own fashion label, LSL.
Scott died by suicide on March 17, 2014, at the age of 49.
Born in London in 1969, McQueen was the bad boy of British fashion, known for his dramatic and often outrageous runway shows. He was appointed head designer at Givenchy in 1996, but two years later he left to focus on his own label. Some of his most famous collections include his “bumster” pants, which sat low on the hips, and “The Highland Rape” collection, which featured distressed tartan. He was also known for using unconventional materials in his designs, such as chicken feathers and razor clam shells. McQueen committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 40.
Azzedine Alaïa was a fashion designer born in Tunisia. He was best known for his clingy dresses and for working with such fashion luminaries as Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, and Greta Garbo. Alaïa died on November 18, 2017, at the age of 77.
Kate Spade, 52, was found dead in her New York City apartment on Tuesday, June 5. The fashion designer’s cause of death was ruled a suicide by hanging, according to the New York City medical examiner’s office.
Spade’s husband and business partner, Andy Spade, released a statement to the press following his wife’s death. “We are all devastated by today’s tragedy. We loved Kate dearly and will miss her terribly,” he said. “We would ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this very difficult time.”
A second statement was released on behalf of the Spade family: “Kate Spade, the visionary founder of our brand, has passed away. Our deepest sympathy goes out to her family and friends. We honor all the beauty she brought into this world.”
Hubert de Givenchy
Hubert de Givenchy, the founder of the world-renowned French fashion house that bears his name, died on March 10, 2018, at the age of 91.
Givenchy was born into a wealthy aristocratic family in Beauvais, France. His interest in fashion was sparked at an early age by his mother and sister, both of whom were formidable style icons in their own right. Givenchy began his fashion career in 1945 when he apprenticed with couturier Jacques Fath. He went on to work with some of the most respected fashion houses in Paris, including Elsa Schiaparelli and Pierre Balmain, before striking out on his own in 1952.
Givenchy’s designs were immediately popular with European royalty and Hollywood celebrities alike. His most famous client was American actress Audrey Hepburn, who wore Givenchy’s designs in several films, including ‘Sabrina,’ ‘Funny Face,’ and ‘Love in the Afternoon.’ Givenchy’s professional relationship with Hepburn was also one of friendship; the two remained close until her death in 1993.
Other notable clients of Givenchy included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly, and Wallis Simpson. Givenchy’s designs were known for their elegance and sophistication, and he was instrumental in popularizing the “little black dress.” He was also a master of haute couture, creating impeccably tailored garments that epitomized traditional French style.
In 1988, Givenchy sold his company to French conglomerate LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), though he remained active within the fashion industry until his retirement in 1995. Givenchy was awarded the Legion d’Honneur – France’s highest civilian honor – in 1996. He died at his home outside of Paris at the age of 91.
Karl Lagerfeld was a German fashion designer, artist, and photographer based in Paris. He is the head designer and creative director of the fashion house Chanel as well as the Italian house Fendi and his own label. Over the decades, he has collaborated with many fashion houses, including Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent,Pierre Cardin, Kenzo, Chloé, Vetements.
On January 23, 2015, fashion designer Vera Wang (age 70) died at her home in New York City from brain cancer.
Wang was born in 1949 in New York City to Chinese Immigrant parents. She went to Sarah Lawrence College and then to Vassar College. After graduation, she worked for Vogue magazine as an editor. In 1987, she left Vogue to start her own design company.
Wang’s designs were worn by many celebrities, including Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Lopez. She also designed the wedding gowns for Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump.
Wang’s work was featured in several museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Donna Karan, an American fashion designer and the creator of the Donna Karan New York label, died in 2015 at the age of 70. best known for her work in developing the “urban uniform” for working women, Karan’s clothing was often described as sensual, sleek, and stylish. In addition to her work in fashion, Karan was also active in philanthropy, particularly in support of breast cancer research and prevention.
Ralph Lauren is an iconic fashion designer who passed away in 2015. He was known for his preppy and luxurious designs, and was one of the most influential designers of his time. His death was a great loss to the fashion world.