Oscar de la Renta mourned in native Dominican Republic

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Media captionOur Arts Editor Will Gompertz takes a look back at the life of one of the biggest names in fashion, Oscar de la Renta.

The Dominican Republic has declared Wednesday an official day of mourning for the late Dominican-born fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

The government of the Caribbean nation said flags would be flown at half-mast.

De la Renta, who made his name in the United States in the 1960s, died on Monday aged 82.

He dressed former US first ladies Jackie Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, and most recently designed Amal Alamuddin's gown for her wedding to George Clooney.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Born in the Dominican Republic, Oscar de la Renta enjoyed success worldwide

De la Renta had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006. He died at his home in the US state of Connecticut.

Dominican President Danilo Medina said on Twitter: "The international fashion (world) and all the Dominican Republic is in mourning."

He called the designer "a great defender of the national interests" with his art and contributions to social programmes.

De la Renta donated frequently to charity and is also credited with increasing the popularity of the Dominican Republic as tourist destination.

"His departure leaves a hole that is impossible to fill," Mr Medina said.

Foreign Minister Andres Navarro said the nation had lost "a Dominican who knew how to put Dominican-ness up on a world level".

US career

De la Renta left the Caribbean nation at 18 to study painting in Madrid, Spain.

He developed a love of fashion design and began an apprenticeship with the Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga.

He dressed nearly every US first lady up to and including Michelle Obama, whom he once chided for not wearing American designers.

Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush all opted for de la Renta gowns.

Laura Bush described the designer as "the man who made women look and feel beautiful".

Mrs Obama eventually made her first appearance in one of his dresses at a White House reception in October.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former US First Lady Jackie Kennedy famously wore De la Renta's designs
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Oscar de la Renta made his name in the early 1960s

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