Fashion Design and Architecture
- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Oscar de la Renta was born in Santo Domingo and moved to Spain when he was 18. Although he never went to fashion school, he began his career as a fashion illustrator for Cristobal Balenciaga in Madrid, where he learned the techniques of fashion design. In Paris he was a couture assistant for Antonio Castillo, and then he worked with Elizabeth Arden in New York, who put Oscar’s name on the label. In 1965, Oscar finally began his own design house and started his own ready-to-wear label. It was marked by Caribbean-bright colors and crossed with his European-trained eye for embellishments.
At Altos de Chavon School of Design in La Romana, students can study fashion design, graphic design, interior design, and fine arts/illustration. The school is associated with the Parsons School of Design in New York. Dominicanamoda (www.dominicanamoda.com) is a high fashion show held in October in Santo Domingo, with 23 runway passes showcasing new-to-market Dominican designers, well-known Dominican designers, and designers from abroad. This highly successful event has been running since 2006 and includes presentations from countries like Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. It is also a benefit for local charity groups.
Architecture styles in the Dominican Republic are as varied as the terrain. The city of Santo Domingo was a walled city when it was first founded (1503) by Nicolás de Ovando with a grid plan layout inside. All important buildings were constructed according to the Spanish design of the time and around the main plaza, Plaza Colón. Most buildings in Santo Domingo at that time were built in Isabelline Gothic style (such as the cathedral). But look elsewhere both in the capital and on the rest of the island and you will find Victorian (late and gingerbread), Modern and Art Deco styles. Perhaps the most memorable for a visitor will be the clapboard homes in multiple colors.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition