NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oscar de la Renta, the legendary fashion designer who dressed first ladies and Hollywood stars during a career that spanned five decades, was remembered on Tuesday for his exquisite style, generous heart and tireless philanthropy.
Tributes poured in for the tall, Dominican-born designer who died late on Monday at the age of 82, surrounded by family at his Connecticut home after a battle with cancer.
No details about the funeral were immediately available.
"His singular talent and exquisite taste elevated American fashion, and his warmth and friendship will be missed by our family and all whose lives he touched in his extraordinary journey," Bill and Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
Known for his classic, feminine creations, de la Renta dressed first ladies, Republican and Democrat, including Jackie Kennedy, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Clinton, who wore a plum-colored de la Renta gown to her daughter's wedding in 2010.
One of his most recent designs was the lace, off-the-shoulder wedding gown he created for human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin for her September wedding to actor George Clooney in Venice, Italy.
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine and a close friend, said he was equally happy dining with the rich and famous as he was playing dominoes with his staff.
"His designs reflected his extraordinary personality - optimistic, fun, sunny, romantic," she said on Vogue's website.
Wintour, who had visited de la Renta recently, added that he had told her he had an amazing life and was not afraid.
"This strength must have been with him in the hospital last week when he made the decision to turn off treatment; it was not the quality of life he wanted," she said.
Fashion designers turned to Twitter to express sympathy.
"We lost a fashion icon," said Marc Jacobs, while Vera Wang tweeted: "Oscar created a whole world of luxury, style and elegance all his own."
Diane von Furstenberg described de la Renta as "a wonderful designer, a true Renaissance man."
Laura Bush said she and her family will miss Oscar's generous and warm personality, his charm and his wonderful talents.
"We will always remember him as the man who made women look and feel beautiful," she said in a statement.
De la Renta was born to a prominent family in the Dominican Republic and studied art in Spain. He began his fashion career working alongside Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga.
His designs, which included full and pencil skirts paired with fitted jackets, dresses in pastel colors and floral prints and elaborate evening gowns, exuded sophistication and elegance.
In 2012, de la Renta won The Fashion Institute of Technology Couture Council Award for Artistry and took aim at celebrities, sports stars and actresses who are delving into fashion design, for their lack of formal training.
"I've been at it for 45 years, and I'm still learning my craft on a daily basis," he said after winning the award.
Earlier this month, de la Renta appointed Nina Ricci's artistic director, Peter Copping, as creative director of his company, a new position that he was to take up in early November, working closely with de la Renta.
His fashion empire includes a ready-to-wear collection, accessories, home decor and fragrance.
Along with his creative talents, de la Renta was renowned for his generosity.
"His legacy of philanthropy extended from children in his home country who now have access to education and healthcare, to some of New York’s finest artists whose creativity has been sustained through his support," the Clintons said.
(editing by Gunna Dickson)