Fashion designer and icon Oscar de la Renta died yesterday at 82, after a yearslong battle with cancer, the New York Times reports. His illness, the paper notes, didn't slow him down: He designed Amal Alamuddin's dress for her wedding to George Clooney just last month, and his business expanded by 50% in the eight years he faced the disease. The Dominican Republic-born designer's clientele ranged from first ladies—including Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, and Michelle Obama, Vanity Fair reports—to Oscar winners. "You want to know who my customer is?” he once asked. "All the women who can afford to buy my clothes!"
He began work in fashion design in the 1950s in Spain, when the wife of the then-US ambassador saw his drawings and sought a dress for her daughter. His career moved him to Paris and eventually the US in 1963. By the 1970s, de la Renta and his first wife, Françoise de Langlade, were "the Social Lions of New York," André Leon Talley writes in Vogue. The Times notes that the couple were central to the rise of designers as the social elite. But de la Renta didn't see his work as particularly "heavy. Somebody might ask, 'What is Oscar de la Renta?' And you could say, 'It's a pretty dress.'"