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Arguably, anyone who knows anything about fashion, style and true French couture knows about Óscar Arístides de la Renta Fiallo.

Known throughout the industry as Oscar de la Renta, the icon died Monday at the age of 82 and leaves a legacy as one of the most prolific international designers to date. He garbed every First Lady of the United States since Jacqueline Kennedy, while notable celebrities and international aristocracy vied for elegant, silhouette-forming gowns that could only be envisioned by de la Renta.

And though he’s no longer with us, de la Renta’s brand is immortal. His signature not only became a trademarked logo, but one of the most recognizable brands in the world; a brand known for luxury, quality and style.

“The fashion business says goodbye to a mentor, a legend & an icon,” tweeted designer Kenneth Cole. “He defined a standard we can only aspire to.”

For more than a half-century, the Dominican-born de la Renta set standards, even as he worked his way to the top through the fashion houses of other notable designers such as Cristobal Balenciaga, Lanvin and Elizabeth Arden.

He also set standards in the world of public relations and social media. The visionary turned to social media last year and debuted his Fall 2013 ad campaign on InstagramFacebook, Twitter and Tumblr before Vogue, Elle or Town and Country could get it in their pages. There was even a presale functionality on the website that launched simultaneously so followers could buy as they browsed.

Oscar de la Renta understood positioning. He understood trends and how his fashion house, though embedded with tradition, had to utilize nontraditional means to further promote his brand. In July 2013, his fashion house’s Instagram account @oscarprgirl had a few more than 175,000 followers. At post time, there were 438,000 followers.

Because of social media, followers, tweeters and Instagrammers can resuscitate a person, picture or thought. Oscar de la Renta’s legacy as a trailblazer will remain with us until the death of the Internet, thanks to social platforms which now have the potential to amplify brand messaging a lot faster than print advertisements could ever market a product.

By Nikki Bannister, @NikBannister

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