Top 50 Fashion Designers of All Time
Top 50 Fashion Designers of All Time
I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly
, I can usually see something of beauty in it.— Alexander McQueen.
As we all know, it is very hard to decide who are the best of the best in the fashion world. Since tastes are not comparable we decided to do a tribute to the most iconic and unique genius in fashion of all time. Since we couldn’t choose from our favorite top designers we organized them in alphabetical order. We hope you find our KOKET selection interesting and creative. This fashion designers conquered their place in the fashion world and we hope to conquer your heart with our KOKET choices, because love happens
1. Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen worked on his tailoring skills at the amazing fashionable names like Anderson & Shepherd, Barmans & Nathans and Romeo Gigli before launching his own brand in 1992. McQueen was known for his iconic fashion and extravagant design. McQueen took his own life, shocking the fashion world and everyone, however, met him, in 2010.
2. Azzedine Alaïa
Started his career as a dressmaker’s assistant, Azzedine Alaïa’s work emphasizes structure and purity of form. Known to many as the pinnacle of luxury and craftsmanship, Alaïa uses the most ingenious fabrics and rigorous tailoring techniques to painstakingly construct and envelope the womanly form with flourish of couture.
3. Calvin Klein
Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons
Calvin Klein studied fashion in New York and apprenticed for a suit manufacturer. In 1968, he opened his own company that was initially recognized for suits and coats, but his sportswear line became popular and top of the line. He received three Coty Awards for womenswear. His business now includes clothing, cosmetics, fragrances and home collections.
4. Carolina Herrera
“Intuition is a strong feminine quality. I have applied that instinct to my career“. This is one our favorite quotes by Carolina Herrera and we think she is a true inspiration to women in fashion, and more, around the world. Carolina started to be known by regularly appearing on the International Best Dressed List in the 80’s. Her trend marks are classy pieces like pencil skirts paired with crisp white cotton shirts. In 2008 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Inspired by Carolina Herrera: A Woman of Individual Flair and Exquisite Elan
5. Christian Dior
When Christian Dior launched his “New Look” collection in 1947 he radically changed the direction of mid-century fashion, bringing the world a new idea of luxury from post-war Paris. Bustier bodices, bell-shaped skirts, rounded shoulders and cinched waists made Dior’s work different and irreverent. Dior took the world by storm, never producing an unpopular collection during his administratcion as the head of Dior brand.
6. Christian Louboutin
Christian Louboutin was born in France in 1963. He was expelled from school at age 16 and started working for the brilliant shoe designer Charles Jourdan two years later. In the early 1990s, Louboutin launched his own line of women’s shoes. He added his legendary red soles in 1993. The Louboutin brand is one of our favorites and his wonderful and unique shoes are all we want.
7. Christian Lacroix
Christian Lacroix directs his devotion and talent for fantasy and theatrics to create true design spectacles. Lacroix arrived in the 80s with the opening of his fashion house and immediately set the world on fire with unexpected mixes of colors and patterns. “The idea of seeing everybody clad the same is not really my cup of tea“. This is one of the best quotes of Lacroix, fighting for unique and irreverent pieces in the world of fashion.
8. Coco Chanel
“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” No quote could be more appropriate from the woman who gave us the little black dress. Born August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France, Coco Chanel is famous for her timeless designs, trademark suits, and little black dresses. Chanel had a brief career as a singer before opening her first clothes shop in 1910. In the 1920s, she launched her first perfume and introduced the Chanel suit and the little black dress.
Behind the Scenes: The Art of Haute Couture
9. Cristobal Balenciaga
The Spanish fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga was born on January 21 in 1895. After studying dressmaking as a child, by age 20, Cristobal started his own brand and became Spanish’s leading couturier. In 1937, he moved to Paris due to the Spanish Civil War. Balenciaga’s designs are famous by its capes, flowing clothes without waistlines, as well as the use of plastic for rainwear. Cristobal died in 1972 in Valencia, Spain.
10. Diane Von Furstenberg
One of the world’s most successful fashion designers, Diane von Fürstenberg impressed the fashion world when she introduced her now-iconic “wrap dress” for the working woman in 1972. Elegance, ease, and accessibility have always been the core of her design philosophy, which has allowed her to turn DVF into a global luxury lifestyle brand. In 2005, she became the recipient of the CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
11. Dolce and Gabbana
“We love the body of a woman. Coco Chanel was wrong when she said that men were unable to design for women. Women know too much about women and they transpose their needs onto women’s clothes” The idea of women power and women shapes is as good to Dolce and Gabbana as it is for us. In 1985, their first collection was shown in Milan and built their themes on screen sirens, Sicilian widows and a rosary of Catholic kitsch. Dolce and Gabbana are arguably the most powerful and influential designers of our time.
12. Donatella Versace
Donatella started to work for her brother Gianni in the late 1970s, serving as his muse and adviser. Then she became the designer for the company’s Versus line in the 1980s. After her brother was murdered, in 1997, she became creative director of the Versace Group. Donatella made sure that Versace shops would be on different fashion centers around the world, particularly Milan and New York. Top celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Madonna have endorsed the company’s collection of clothes, accessories, fragrances and home furnishings.
13. Donna Karan
The 66 years old diva, Donna Karan is one of the most influential fashion designers in the world. Her line of cloths was created for women to where when they are going to a cocktail party straight from work. Sleek and practical basics are mixed with glamorous and feminine pieces. To sum up, Donna Karan has left a lasting impact on the world of clothing, bringing uptown New York chic into the mainstream.
14. Elsa Schiaparelli
The top icon of fashion design, Elsa Schiaparelli was born on September 10, 1890, in Italy. After working at a boutique in New York, Schiaparelli moved to Paris, where she began designing her own clothes. Her work and sense of style shaped the look of fashion in the 1920s and ’30s, and her clothes were worn by some of the world’s most famous women, including American actress Greta Garbo. Schiaparelli died in Paris on November 13, 1973.
15. Emilio Pucci
Known as the prince of Prints, the fashion designer Emilio Pucci got known for his tight shantung “Pucci pants” and vividly printed silk dresses and blouses. His colorful, informal uniforms for Braniff flight attendants were groundbreaking. Later, Pucci branched into men’s fashions, perfume, and ceramics. He also served as a member of the Italian Parliament. His color trends and designs are one of KOKET’s most lovable inspirations.
16. Gianni Versace
Gianni Versace launched his first clothing line in Milan, Italy, in 1978. In 1989, Versace debuted his first couture collection. He became known for his glamorous styles, producing a range of siren dresses that became his trademark. Gianni Versace was also known for his marketing genius, turning nameless models into international superstars and regularly recruiting celebrities for his campaigns. Gianni Versace was murdered in 1997. Nevertheless, the house Versace is one of the most know and admired luxury fashion trends until our days.
17. Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani was born on July 11, in 1934, in Italy. Armani is an iconic and unique fashion designer. His popularity skyrocketed in America in the 1980s with his men’s ‘power suits’. Armani attracted an enviable fashion following in the 80s with the unstructured jackets and soft trousers in mineral hues. With more than three decades in the business, Armani has enjoyed a longevity as a designer experienced by few others.
18. Hubert de Givenchy
Image by Robert Perrier via Wikimedia Commons
Hubert de Givenchy was born to an aristocratic family in Beauvais, France, in the 20’s. After attending art school, he worked for several important fashion designers in Paris. He opened his own design house in 1952 and was immediately praised for his chic, feminine designs. He is known for his elegant haute couture designs and professional relationships with clients like Audrey Hepburn.
19. Issey Miyake
Fashion designer Issey Miyake used new technology to create innovative textiles with both Eastern and Western influences for his clothing line. Issey Miyake was born on April 22, 1938, in Hiroshima, Japan. In the 1960s, he designed for Givenchy in Paris, after which he designed for Geoffrey Bean in Manhattan. In 1970, Miyake started his own design studio. During the 1970s, he toyed with avant-garde Eastern designs. In the 1980s, he began using technology new East meets West textiles.
20. Jean Paul Gaultier
Jean-Paul Gaultier is a French fashion designer born on 1952 in Val-de-Marne, France. At age 18, he joined the house of Pierre Cardin before moving on to Jacques Esterel and Patou. The appearance of Gaultier’s collection was in 1976, but his own design house was only launched on 1982. Jean Paul Gaultier‘s sensual, irreverent style continually challenges stereotypical femininity, ignoring traditional gender roles by embracing androgyny and the freedom of sexuality. His style is known to challenge standard views of fashion.
21. Jeanne Lanvin
Leanne Lanvin was born in Brittany, France, in 1867. Leanne was known for her modern and youthful looking clothing that gave women freedom of movement. She was specifically recognized for her “robe de style,” the chemise and Empire dresses, and the Breton suit. She also ventured into designing sportswear and accessories.
22. Jimmy Choo
Fashion designer Jimmy Choo was born in Penang, Malaysia in 1961. He used the craftsmanship he learned from his father, also a cobbler, to create some of the most coveted shoes in the world. Choo opened his first shop in Hackney in 1986 in an old hospital building. Within two years of opening his shop, Choo’s shoes were featured in an eight-page spread in Vogue magazine. Soon, Choo became the darling of the celebrity world, in particular Princess Diana, who donned Choo’s footwear seemingly everywhere she went. Jimmy Choo rose to fame for the quality and style of his handmade women’s shoes.
23. Karl Lagerfeld
One of the most acclaimed fashion designers in the world, Karl Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg, Germany. As a teenager, Lagerfeld worked at Balmain for four years before moving to Jean Patou where he became artistic director at 21. His prolific portfolio now encompasses Chanel and Fendi along with his own house. Known for his bold designs and constant reinvention, he’s been hailed Vogue magazine as the “unparalleled interpreter of the mood of the moment.” King Karl, the one-man multinational fashion phenomenon.
Karl Lagerfeld Breaks Into Interior Design
24. Manolo Blahnik
Being way more than a famous shoe designer, Manolo Blahnik is the man who can single-handedly make a woman feel instantly sexy with his ultra sophisticated, wildly fun high heel shoes. Becoming a household name through shows like Sex and the City and his never ending list of celebrity endorsements, Manolo Blahnik has become one of the most influential shoe designers of our time. Unfortunately it is known in fashion circles that when Blahnik dies there will be no more Manolos. There is no protégé or heir and no desire from the great designer to have the label continue without him.
25. Marc Jacobs
Born on April 9, 1963 in New York City, Marc Jacobs suffered a lot with the death of his father at the age of 7. He would eventually move in with his grandmother and that made all the difference. Marc entered the Parsons School of Design and later position at Perry Ellis. Jacobs launched his own collection in 1986, started his own label and continued to impress the fashion world.
26. Mary Quant
London designer Mary Quant was not only an iconic fashion design but also the imortal creator of the miniskirt. Mary had an art-school background and had been designing and manufacturing her own clothes since second half of the twentieth century. She was convinced that fashion needed to be affordable to be accessible to the young, she opened her own retail boutique, Bazaar, on the Kings Road in 1955, introducing the “mod” era and the “Chelsea look.”
27. Miuccia Prada
One of our favorite italian fashion designers, Miuccia Prada was once a member of the Italian Communist Party and a mime student. She was an unlikely entrepreneur when she took over her family’s luggage business in 1978. She first dazzled the fashion world in 1985 with a series of black nylon handbags and backpacks. Prada is now a billion-dollar company. Beginning with Prada’s first ready-to-wear collection in 1989, she established a techno minimalism based on pared-down design, innovative fabrics, and computer-enhanced patterns that have become influentially iconic.
28. Narciso Rodriguez
In 1995, Rodriguez became design director of TSE, where he presented the first ready-to-wear collections for men and women. In 1996, Carolyn Bessette asked Rodriguez to create the gown she wore to marry John F. Kennedy Jr, putting the designer firmly on the fashion radar. Rodriguez was soon appointed design director of Cerruti in Paris. After that a consequence, Loewe appointed Rodriguez as design director of the women’s ready to wear collection. Rodriguez held the position until 2001.
29. Oscar de la Renta
Coming from a mid class family from Dominican Republic, Oscar de La Renta moved to Madrid at the early age of 19 wishing to be a painter. In order to make extra money Oscar de La Renta started doing some work as a fashion designer. In 1965, De la Renta took over Arden, the company he was working for at the time and this open the door to start his own brand. The unique tone of red on his dresses became to be known as “De la Renta red”.
30. Ottavio Missoni
Ottavio Missoni started their own fashion design company with his wife Rosita. First they started with stripes, the easiest design which could be made with the ch. They use up to twenty different fabrics, including wool, cotton, linen, rayon and silk and some 40 different colours for each of their collections. Their clothes range from sweaters to skirts, dresses and jackets. Ottavio Missoni has also diversified from clothes to tapestries and carpets. Ottavio died last year leaving Rosita being the head of the business.
31. Paco Rabanne
In 1966 Paco Rabanne opened his own outlet at the age of 32, where he earned international repute for his metal-linked plastic-disc dresses, sun goggles and jewelry made of plastic in primary colors. Paco Rabanne’s dresses made of small plastic tiles linked together by chains, stole the show in Paris. His first collection, titled “12 Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials,” sums up his philosophy that “the only new frontier left in fashion is the finding of new materials.” Throughout his career, Rabanne experimented with everything from plastic and aluminum to fiberglass and paper to create futuristic, eccentric, yet highly influential garments.
32. Pierre Balmain
Considered by many one of the greatest tailors of the century, Pierre Balmain was born in Saint Jean de Maurienne, France in 1914. After studying at the school of Architecture, in Paris he founded in 1945 the Maison Balmain as a couture house, with a lucrative sideline in fragrances. In that year he showed long, bellshaped skirts with small waists; a line that became popular in 1947 as part of Dior’s New Look.
33. Pierre Cardin
After working for Dior, Schiaparelli and Paquin, Pierre Cardin opened his fashion house in 1947. Initially designing costumes for stage productions, he launched his first women’s couture collection in 1953 and women’s ready-to-wear in 1959. Cardin’s company grew into an empire starting in the 1960s when he began licensing his name to a wide array of products outside of clothing.
34. Ralph Lauren
Son of Russian working class immigrants, Ralph Lauren has transformed himself into the sophisticated billionaire. His classic and preppy designs all draw upon an image of old world wealth and luxury, and he pioneered the concept of clothes as part of a lifestyle environment. Lauren worked in retail before developing a line of neckties. The brand he established, Polo, is now one part of an empire that includes fragrances, home furnishings and luxury clothing. Today, his five billion dollar business includes several clothing lines as well as perfumes, house ware, furniture and paint.
35. Ralph Rucci
Ralph Rucci was born in 1957 in Philadelphia. He studied Philosophy and Literature at Temple University. Ralph Rucci launched the Chado Ralph Rucci line in 1994. His attention to detail, extreme perfectionism, and the dutiful mastery of his art has won numerous awards and placement in permanent museum collections.
36. Rei Kawakubo
Rei Kawakubo went to university and studied art and literature, like a lot of bright girls do. But then she taught herself how to design, set up shop, and soon started to change the fashion world. In 1973, she created her own company, Comme des Garçons Co. Ltd in Tokyo and opened up her first boutique store in Tokyo in 1975. Starting with women’s clothes, Kawakubo added a men’s line in 1978. Comme des Garçons specializes in anti-fashion, austere, sometimes deconstructed garments.
37. Rene Lacoste
A former world number one tennis player, Rene Lacoste won 10 major titles over the course of his seven-year career. In later years, he started a line of sportswear that bore his name and whose iconic crocodile symbol became a sign of status. He died in St. Jean-Luz, France, on October 12, 1996.
38. Roberto Cavalli
“I love a woman, I love to judge how beautiful she is, how beautiful I can make her.” Here at KOKET we are as in love with women as Cavalli. This italian designer Roberto Cavalli presented his first collection in 1970 and came to be known for his lavishly printed and colored leatherwear and denim. In 1999, he introduced menswear and eyewear and followed with Cavalli Jeans (later renamed to Just Cavalli) in 2000.
39. Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo was a 20th century Italian footwear designer, providing Hollywood’s glitterati and many others with unique hand-made designs and spawning an emporium of luxury consumer goods for men and women, with stores in some of the most important cities of the world.
40. Sonia Rykiel
Sonia Rykiel is a fashion designer who was born in Neuilly, Paris on 1930. She created her debut maternity outfits and Poor Boy Sweater, that was shown on the cover of ELLE magazine. Due to this, Sonia was crowned as the ‘knitting queen’ by the American public in 1967. Today Sonia is struggling with Parkinson.
41. Stella Mccartney
Stella McCartney went fresh from graduation at Central Saint Martins to chief designer at Chloé in 1997. Le Style Stella – a raunchy mix of rock ‘n’ roll and girly glamour – established Chloé as the best selling label in Paris and its designer as a card-carrying member of the fashion aristocracy. In 2000, McCartney left Chloé and signed a deal with the Gucci Group to launch her successful signature label.
42. Thierry Mugler
Thierry Mugler was born in Strasbourg, France. At the age of 20, Manfred Thierry Mugler is in search of a more creative outlet and decides to try his luck in Paris in the dance world. In 1973 he debuted his first collection, Cafe de Paris, and founded his own label for women two years later, and in 1978 he launched a collection for men.
43. Thomas Burberry
Thomas Burberry was born in 1835 in Brockham Green, Surrey. Burberry opened his own small clothing outfitters in Basingstoke in 1857. At that time Basingstoke was a small country town. Nowadays, the Burberry Group is a leading global fashion brand which now sells womenswear, menswear, non-apparel and children’s wear. It is famous for its iconic trademarked check design and British heritage branding.
44. Tom Ford
Tom Ford studied design at the before he worked for Perry Ellis andCathy Hardwick. Tom was hired in 1990 to oversee Gucci’s women’s wear collections, and had a breakthrough four years later when he was appointed creative director. The Gucci makeover masterminded by Ford was the biggest fashion success story of the late 90s. His sultry rock-star velvet hip-slung trousers, leather stilettos, and Halston-esque dresses were blockbusters. After Gucci’s buyout of Yves Saint Laurent in 1999, Ford also became creative director of YSL Rive Gauche. In 2005, Ford launched the Tom Ford brand.
45. Tommy Hilfiger
Known as the champion of star-spangled glamour, Tommy Hilfieger‘s favorite trends go from red, white and blue. Since introducing his first collection in 1985, no designer has become more closely associated with Ivy League prep than Tommy Hilfiger. After building his company on the modernization of all-American men’s wear, and winning the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year award in 1995, Hilfiger introduced women’s wear in 1996 and sold the company for $1.6 billion ten years later.
Valentino started his brilliant and admirable career in the world of fashion in 1950 when he moved to Paris to study design. His classically elegant and feminine designs made women look utterly glamorous. The Italian maestro worked at houses Dessus and Laroche before going back to Rome to set up his business in 1959. By the mid-1960s, Valentino was a favorite designer of the world’s best-dressed women, including Jacqueline Kennedy. Among his signatures is a particular fabric shade, known as “Valentino red.”
Valentino’s Store on 5th Avenue
47. Vera Wang
Known for balancing modern designs with traditional elegance, Vera Wang is arguably the most prominent designer of bridal wear in America. Wang introduced her first bridal collection in 1990 after fifteen years editing at Vogue and a two designing for Ralph Lauren. After spending more than a decade dressing countless stars for weddings and red carpets in her ultra-elegant, custom-made gowns (even publishing a book in 2001, “Vera Wang on Weddings”), it was a natural progression for Wang to introduce ready-to-wear in 2004.
48. Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood, the godmother of punk, is considered one of the most unconventional and outspoken fashion designers in the world. Westwood’s fashions woke to fame in the late 1970s when her early designs helped shape the look of the punk rock movement. The highly influential shop changed its name and décor with every collection, and would later be credited for setting off both the punk trend and the new romantic wave. In 1981, Westwood launched her signature collection and has since continued to shock and amuse the fashion world with her hard-core Anglomania.
49. Yohji Yamamoto
Yamamoto was born in Yokohama, Japan on October 3, 1943. He studied law at Keio University and graduated in 1966 with a law degree. He continued his studies on fashion design at the famous Bunkafukuso Gakuin, a fashion institute in Tokyo. Yamamoto blends the exotic and powerful designs of traditional Japanese dress with Western daywear, and achieves a unique, abstract style. He is an uncompromising, nontraditional designer. Yamamoto drapes and wraps the body in unstructured, loose, voluminous garments, similar in style and philosophy to those of Rei Kawakubo. Many of his clothes have additional flaps, pockets and straps.
50. Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent started his brand in 1962 after working at the house of Dior, where he was famously appointed head designer at young age 21. Many of fashion’s most iconic creations can be attributed to YSL, including the women’s tuxedo jacket, the high-fashion peacoat, and the shirt dress. In addition to iconic clothing, he was also among the first designers to feature non-white models. Yves stayed at the brand until his retirement in 2002. He died in June 2008.
And that is it for out top most iconic and incredible fashion designers of all time. I hope you enjoy it and you can get some inspirations and ideas from this top fashion design stars. Check out our previous article on this interesting subject and let us know with your comments what you think.
35 Looks We Love From Paris Haute Couture Week Spring Summer 2019