Some of the Most Influential People in Fashion History

Iconic Fashion Artists

The fashion industry is responsible for bringing new and creative trends to the public eye. Although a host of influential people including models, trend-setters and photographers play a part in bringing the latest trends to the public, the creativity must first come from the designers. Since most people must work their way up the ladder, let’s look at how these people were first influenced and how they continue to influence fashion styles today.

Coco Chanel began designing stylish fashions nearly three quarters of a century ago. Her designs were like no other as she helped move women away from corsets, tight fitting underclothing and various other uncomfortable garments. In the 1920s, Coco Chanel introduced her cologne, Chanel No. 5, which was the first cologne to ever be named after the well-known designer.

Chanel continued to design fashions which were considered modish and cleverly crafted with a blend of male and female inspired designs. She was the first designer to introduce a fitted skirt and jacket without a collar. Chanel was also the designer who brought the little black dress into evening wear rather than just being marked as something to wear while mourning. Many of her designs are viewed as being luxurious without being too extravagant or flashy. In 1971, when Coco Chanel passed away, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld kept her legacy alive by taking over the company which continues to generate millions of dollars in sales.

Giorgio Armani started off as a window designer before his talents as a brilliant menswear designer were recognized. He has been in the fashion industry for more than 35 years while creating luxurious clothing lines including Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani Prive. In the 1980s, Armani redefined business suits with lightweight fabrics designed with flexibility and comfort in mind. However, Armani doesn’t just limit his talents to clothing. He also designs accessories, shoes, cosmetics and home decor.

Ralph Lauren started his fashion empire when he began working with a tie manufacturer. In the late 1960s, Lauren kicked off Polo Fashions by designing wide ties which happened to be in style at the time. In the early ’70s, Ralph Lauren designed a line of menswear which won the City Award. The classic Polo shirt with short sleeves and a collar came just a few years later. The Polo line is still popular and the short sleeve Polo shirt can still be found in just about every man’s wardrobe. Lauren was also responsible for designing the first female suit adorned with the Polo logo. This suit was made with a subtle hint of menswear fashion which became the new power suit and adversary of the Armani business suit.

Marc Jacobs credits the beginning of his talent to his grandmother who raised him and taught him how to knit. The skills she taught him provided the beginning of his abilities to design oversized sweaters. Jacobs attended and graduated from design school and then went on to design street wear for Perry Ellis. Only a few short years later, Jacobs was appointed Creative Director for Louis Vuitton. Thereafter, he developed two label brands known as Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs. His styles are well-known for being contemporary but also having a slight vintage look. His designs can be found in more than 50 countries and also include jewelry, sunglasses, shoes and other accessories.

Tom Ford says the beginning of his fashion industry career happened when he was 12 years old and bought his first pair of Gucci shoes. Ford began his actual career in design when he went to work with Marc Jacobs at Perry Ellis. From there, he moved on to assist a designer brand which was nearly bankrupt by the early 90s. Ford became the Creative Director for Gucci and began to slowly bring the brand back to the forefront with his creative style. Some of Ford’s hot new designs included chic satin shirts and various fashions designed with metallic fabric. By the end of the 90s, the company was worth more than $4-billion dollars. In addition to his menswear collection, Tom Ford’s designs include labels such as Yves Saint Laurent, Cathy Hardwick and Perry Ellis.


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