Oscar de la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932 and became a U.S. citizen in 1971.
De la Renta left the Dominican Republic when he was 18 years old to study art in Spain, but soon after beginning his studies he discovered an interest in fashion design. He apprenticed with the Spanish designer Balenciaga and and then worked with the house of Lanvin in Paris. By 1963, he had designs carrying his own label. After establishing himself in the U.S., de la Renta opened boutiques across the country.
Among de la Renta's contributions to American society were uniforms he designed for the Boy Scouts of America in the 1980s.
De la Renta surrendered his Dominican citizenship in 1971, when he was naturalized by the United States. He later turned down an offer to become the Dominican Republic's ambassador to the U.S., reportedly because he did not want to give up his American citizenship, which would have been necessary to accept the appointment.