Cuban-American Narciso Rodriguez: One of the Most Influential Designers of Our Time
John F. Kennedy Jr. married Carolyn Bessette on September 21, 1996 on Cumberland Island, Georgia in a Baptist church. The classic wedding, noted for its regality, also earned the attention of fashion cognoscenti, who fell to their hands and knees after witnessing Besette's wedding dress, which was a stunning bias-cut sheath wedding dress with a matte silk crepe slip. That "sexy and ethereal" dress was designed by Bessette's close friend, Narcisco Rodriguez; and that design, one of the most duplicated silhouettes for more than a decade, relocated Rodriguez from the background of the fashion industry to the forefront.
The 52-year-old designer has received nods from all fronts. Vogue's Anna Wintour once remarked, "No one but Narciso has ever made a simple line look more stunning," and Bloomingdale's Kalman Ruttenstein once stated, "He can cut a dress better than any designer."
Rodriguez received his formal education from Parson's School of Design in New York, and later worked with Anne Klein, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. He was elected as the Design Director of TSE, then Design Director of Cerruti in Paris, before he developed his first ready-to-wear clothing label in 1998.
Much later, in 2008, Michelle Obama would chose to wear a dress from Rodriguez's 2009 Collection, when celebrating President Obama's first term election.
The Cuban American's Latino roots direct his designs, and address his use of color, cuts and style. His creative techniques have made him incomparable in the fashion field, and made him one of the most sought-after designers of our time. He's done style collaborations on several films, including "The Family Stone" and "The Women." His work often appears in fashion institutes and museums exhibitions.
Rodriguez is the only American to be awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) two years in a row; he was awarded "Best New Designer" at the Vogue Fashion Awards, the "Perry Ellis Award," and Time Magazine recognized him as one of the "25 Most Influential Hispanics in America" in 2005. He continues to receive countless awards, honoring his contribution to the fashion and fragrance industry.
The renown designer launched an affordable and fashionable clothing line with Kohls, as of 2012, so that the general public can have access to high-end clothing at low prices. He also has a fashion house based in New York City.