“I’m not interested in shock tactics. I just want to make beautiful clothes,” Oscar de la Renta famously said in 1963. For more than five decades, his commitment to feminine elegance made the designer an unwavering favorite not only among First Ladies but also on red carpets. “His clothes have been to more awards shows than Meryl Streep,” Michael Bloomberg joked when presenting the designer with a Couture Council lifetime achievement award in 2012 — a dramatic understatement. In fact, it’s hard to think of an A-list actress he didn’t dress. Over the years, everyone from Candice Bergen to Sandra Bullock, Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, and Amy Adams has worn his gowns proudly on the red carpet. This spring, Sarah Jessica Parker took her long-standing devotion to the designer even further, when she asked him to embroider his signature on the train of her black-and-white Met Gala gown. “It was my idea,” she told Vanity Fair. “He would never in a million years have done it, he’s far too modest.”
Click through the slideshow for a look back at de la Renta’s most iconic red-carpet gowns, including Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, Jessica Chastain, and many, many more.