Jenny Polanco, Vogue Designer with a Caribbean Palette, Dies at 62

This obituary is part of a series about people who died from the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Jenny Polanco designed womenswear from childhood, created costumes for her Barbies and made her own dresses for college. But she never believed that people were what they were wearing. She was more concerned about what was underneath.

Ms. Polanco, a pioneering Dominican designer of clothing, jewelry and accessories, died this week in a hospital in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas said Tuesday. She was 62 years old.

Ms. Polanco worked in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Paris, and New York for more than four decades and was highly regarded by colleagues and fashion critics. On her website, she described her approach as “a flowing dialogue between classic avant-garde style and the Caribbean”, which “combines refined lines, curtains and exquisite cuts with handcrafted details of the Dominican vernacular: buttons in amber, details in horn, larimar mother-of-pearl, Coral and other indigenous elements. “

She was most pleased with the positive reception women gave of a version of her elegant line in larger sizes. To support local talent, she opened Project, a craft shop in the Dominican Republic, in addition to the various fashion boutiques she owned there.

She reportedly returned from Madrid on March 4 and was quarantined five days later after complaining about symptoms of the coronavirus after test results were positive for Covid-19. She was admitted to the hospital on March 18 because she was having difficulty breathing.

Jenny Altagracia Polanco de Léon was born on January 18, 1958 in Santo Domingo. Throughout her life she was inclined to the creative arts and contemplated careers in choreography and painting.

She graduated from the Pedro Henriquez Ureña National University in Santo Domingo with a degree in interior design and studied pattern making, tailoring techniques and artistic draping at the Parsons School of Design in New York.

Her survivors include a son and a daughter.