Fashion lost a heavyweight yesterday when designer Oscar de la Renta passed away in his home in Connecticut. He was 82.
And as the days unfold with tributes, obits, reactions and remembrances, one word will undoubtedly ring again and again: gentleman. Because de la Renta, from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, was truly that. Yes, he once worked with the great Cristóbal Balenciaga and eventually took over the couture reins at Pierre Balmain. Yes, he dazzled on the runways time and again with his own beautiful and romantic dressed-up designs. And, yes, he garnered an impressive client roster through the years — from countless stars (Penélope Cruz; Sarah Jessica Parker) to stars of the legendary Ladies Who Lunch (Babe Paley; C. Z. Guest), not to mention First Ladies of both political persuasions (Nancy Reagan; Hillary Clinton). But for all his connections, high stature and remarkable career, he was also one of the most gracious, kindest souls on Seventh Avenue. Mr. de la Renta, you will be missed.

Above: Sable-trimmed satin gowns designed by Oscar de la Renta for Pierre Balmain Haute Couture, 1997, photographed by Peter Lindbergh/The Lighthouse/Vogue, from Assouline’s Oscar: The Style, Inspiration, and Life of Oscar de la Renta. On the Tory Daily home page: De la Renta and a model at his New York studio, 1989, photographed by Thomas Iannaccone/Conde Nast Archive/Corbis

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