Designers That Gave Fashion a Makeover

It is a very rare occasion that designers become an icon in the fashion industry. It undoubtedly takes passion, skill, talent, and of course, the right connections to make a name for yourself. Every now and then there comes a promising designer that is sure to make a dent in the industry. The question is, do they really make an impact in design history? The following is a list of designers that have made their name synonymous to the change that they brought to the dynamic world of fashion. While the names Armani and Valentino are missing, this list focuses on those that have introduced visionary ideas not only in the industry but also changed the way it is perceived by the public.
Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg was once married to a prince of German descent. This Belgian-American designer wanted to be recognized not for her ties to royalty but for a career that would surpass her title. In 1970, she invested $30,000 in designing clothes. She launched a new style of dresses- her most prominent design- the jersey wrap dress. With its iconic prints and colorful designs, the wrap dress is a testament to her talent that launched her career that garnered her lifetime recognitions.
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent is credited to have launched the tuxedo into women’s closets. Otherwise known as le smoking, the women’s version of the men’s classic possesses the same sophistication but undoubtedly exudes more sensuality. He was revolutionized the fashion industry by making ready-to-wear garments reputable. He was also the first designer to use ethnic models as well as non-European culture in his collections. He worked under Christian Dior, eventually earning the respect of the designer. He inherited The House of Dior from the designer at the age of 21.
Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood is a British fashion designer, as well as a political activist, and businesswoman. Her involvement in politics and pop culture gave her cultural authority and this gave birth to a fashion revolution. She was able to bring modern punk and new wave into mainstream fashion. In more recent events, she was a guest judge in two of America’s most popular fashion reality television shows- Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model. Her designs were also featured in the 2008 film adaptation of the HBO series Sex and the City.
Christian Dior
This postwar designer’s claim to fame was the introduction of the “New Look” silhouette. His skill and mastery in lines and shapes introduced a new silhouette to women after the Second World War. This shape gave women a “flower silhouette”- a nipped waist, a voluminous full skirt, and a corseted top. His suits and dresses were often padded to balance the bust and accentuate a wasp-like waist.
Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein brought a minimalist and sensual face to American fashion. His underwear collection is a dedication to clean lines and sharp cuts that accentuate both the body and sensuality. His jeans, cut so slim that it glides across the legs of the wearer, gave a modern look to the decade-old fashion staple. His fashion house’s marketability is based largely on provocative images that shocked the conservatives of American society. The distinctive cut of his jeans are more commonly known today as “skinny jeans.”
Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren redefined the clothing choices of America. He took inspiration from elite prep school students and transformed their uniforms into something wearable everyday. He charmed his way into closets by making his collection exude a relaxed American lifestyle without foregoing taste and class. In a way, he made dress codes in prep schools appreciated and introduced “preppy clothing” into mainstream fashion.
Carolina Herrera
Carolina Herrera gave the industry a facelift by demonstrating that beauty and class go beyond surface level. She is a goodwill ambassador for The Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro?�A�A?algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition. She is also a recipient of The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence, Spain’s Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts, and the Gold Medal of the Queen Sof?�a Spanish Institute. She won the “Womenswear Designer of the Year” in 2004 and the “Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2008 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Moreover, she received the distinguished “Mercedes-Benz Presents” title for the season spring/summer 2011 collection. Apart from the awards that decorate her name, her genuine heart has won the admiration of many in the industry. Poised with grace and class, her presence in the industry proves that you do not have to step on other people’s dreams and toes to become successful.
Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel embodied the true essence of power only a rags-to-riches story could conjure. Raised in an orphanage by nuns, she was taught to sew at an early age. She went on to pursue a brief career in singing. Afterwards, she struggled to land a foothold in fashion. She charmed her way into the hearts of two powerful men of whom she was a mistress. She used that influence as financial support. She was the originator of the modern women’s sportswear and the idea of powerdressing.
The Chanel suit is definitely her trademark and signature style. Embellished with ribbons, lace, satin and pearls, this outfit stands the test of time and remains a classic. Her no-nonsense philosophy in fashion liberated women from the constraints of corsets and other padded and uncomfortable clothing. Her vision was to make fashion as comfortable as they are beautiful, and with this she introduced to women the concept of wearing trousers- a garment strictly designed for men during her time. She liberated fashion to new lengths, making it comfortable, classic, and an emblem of influence.

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