But thirty years later after introducing luxe ladies to his signature fragrance, de la Renta understands that he is now designing for a woman evolved.
With his daughter Eliza Bolen as his muse, the 78-year-old Dominican Republic native perfected Esprit d'Oscar, a feminine floral-oriental perfume for the "chic and sophisticated women of a new era."
"Today I'm dealing with a different woman and that woman knows exactly what she wants," de la Renta said. "We're in a time for a woman to fulfill her aspirations and I think Esprit d'Oscar represents that modern woman, that woman who feels fully sure of herself and knows that the projection of fragrance is that."
Poured into a sleek, contoured glass bottle with a translucent flower top and single dewdrop accent, Esprit d'Oscar is a blend of Sicilian lemon, bergamot, citron, Egyptian jasmine, orange flower, tuberose, musk, heliotrope, tonka bean and vetiver -- a rejuvenation of the original fragrance, Bolen told StyleList.
"We made it less powdery. I didn't like the powder because it reminded me of a grandma...it's fresher. We just tweaked the levels because we didn't want to alienate the woman who loves it and still buys it," Bolen added.
And as all fragrance lovers know, the eau becomes incomparable once you spritz it on.
"I say a fragrance should become part of your identity. It's no longer Esprit d'Oscar. When I want to smell that fragrance, I want to recognize you by it," de la Renta told StyleList. "One of the most wonderful things for a man is to walk in a room and know that that woman was here because of that lingering smell."
Want more floral? Check out the latest crop of fragrances to hit the beauty counters this spring.