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Vogue's Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Talley Pen Emotional Oscar de la Renta Essays

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Oscar de la Renta

"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."

Following the news of Oscar de la Renta's death on Monday night, Vogue's Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley have penned emotional personal essays in honor of the departed designer.

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"There is much being said that his passing yesterday marks the end of an era. Not true. He was the most democratic man I knew and he would have lived happily and defined any era," Wintour's letter begins. Later, she recalls witnessing his health difficulties (which he never complained about) while visiting him with daughter Bee Shaffer earlier this summer: "The conversation became more serious and he told me he felt he had had the most amazing life and he 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. ... His last words to me were I love you, and I said I love you back."

And after sharing memories from over the years, Wintour concluded, "He always said accept your friends for who they are, not for who you want them to be. Oscar was everything you could want a friend to be. Annette was his perfect partner, creating those magical houses and gardens together, giving extraordinary seemingly effortless dinners, and always taking care of each other. She slept on a cot in the hospital every night he was there. Theirs was the greatest, most life-enhancing love affair. Last week in the hospital he said that she never wears the beautiful jewelry he gave her, and she said simply, 'I have you.' "

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"I also considered him one of my close, best friends. He truly cared about my well-being, no matter if it was my weight-loss battle, or was I lonely, and would I come dine with he and Annette at home in New York," added Talley in a letter of his own, recalling the designer's love of family, philanthropy and "the historical social anecdote." Talley became close with de la Renta while the designer was married to Françoise de Langlade, who was mentoring Talley at the time. Over the years, whether watching him working on exhibits, runway collections or incredibly memorable wedding dresses, "his impeccable personal style about people, parties, and fashion, fueled his work. Known for his appropriate elegance, he always designed with the ultimate motivation that women must look and feel beautiful."

Still, concluded Talley, "Some of my fondest memories of Oscar are in his native Dominican Republic, diving into a natural waterfall in the mountains, or having the ultimate pleasure of seeing him dance. He was the best dancer. It was a joy just to be in his presence, especially in his beautiful homes and gardens, where happiness reigned."

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee

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