In fashion, we are introduced to new styles every season and there are people who make this happen. In honor of Women’s International Day, we’ve compiled a list of iconic women in fashion. Trends may fade but these iconic women won’t as they have made herstory in fashion.
Katharine Hepburn, one of the most idolized actresses during her time, embodied the American look. With progressive parents – her mother was a suffragette – Hepburn grew up to be an independent woman which is shown in her wardrobe. She is considered the First Lady of Menswear as for a majority of the 20th century she dismissed “girlier” styles and preferred to wear menswear-inspired shirts, wide-leg trousers, and comfortable shoes. She was able to make masculine fashion chic.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jackie Kennedy, more than just the wife of a President, changed the world’s view of conservative clothes and made politics fashionable. As an inspiration of style and sophistication, women around the world have adopted her “Jackie O” look. She garnered public attention for her chic peacoats, tailored suits and accessorizing with elbow-length gloves, pillbox hats, elegant scarves worn over her hair, and three-strand pearl necklaces.
Audrey Hepburn is recognized as the reason for the Little Black Dress being a staple in every closet. If there was a picture under “Old Hollywood” in the dictionary it would be her iconic look from Breakfast at Tiffany’s as Holly Golightly with a sleek updo in a black Givenchy dress accessorized with a three-strand pearl necklace, large tortoiseshell sunglasses, diamond earrings, and of course the classic long cigarette holder. While the Breakfast at Tiffany’s look will forever be a fashion favorite, she also popularized black-cropped pants, slip-on loafers, and boatneck tops
Franca Sozzani is credited with transforming Vogue Italia into the world’s most influential fashion magazine, during her 20-year tenure as editor in chief of the magazine. She is known for stirring up controversy by discussing social and environmental issues through fashion. Sozzani spearheaded the supermodel movement of the early ’90s by allowing models’ names on the cover alongside their images – which was unheard of then. She constantly challenges the fashion industry. At the time when very few openly discussed the lack of diversity, Sozzani presented Vogue Italia’s July 2008 “Black Issue.” The magazine displayed black models and celebrated black women in the worlds of art, politics and entertainment which sold out in the United Kingdom and the United States within three days. She also believes in inclusion of all sizes in the fashion industry, hence Vogue Italia’s June 2011 issue featuring plus-size models in a 20-page spread.
During her tenure as First Lady, Michelle Obama, inspired Americans to support American fashion and young designers. She didn’t play favorites with designers, and mixed her wardrobe with high end and affordable fashions resulting in an unprecedented significantly long list of designers she has worn during her 8-year tenure. From choosing to wear sleeveless tops and dresses, and having fun with floral and geometric prints, to wearing designers from countries she traveled to during official state visits she wasn’t afraid to defy White House tradition. She is unparalleled in her influence on American fashion – how many people can say that Anna Wintour was a major supporter in fundraising for their re-election campaign? And no other First Lady can say they’ve had three cover stories for Vogue. Her influence isn’t just receiving love from the fashion industry but evident when she causes items from the likes of J. Crew and White House Black Market to sell out within days. Michelle Obama, has impacted fashion like no other First Lady since Jackie Kennedy, which was proven by a New York University professor that researched “How This First Lady Moves Markets,” for the Harvard Business Review.
As editor in chief of American Vogue with over a quarter-century tenure, and Condé Nast Artistic Director, Anna Wintour is considered the most influential fashion editor of her generation. Wintour is known to give her insights to the creative direction of a designer’s collection and effecting the items carried by department stores. She’s also known for her demanding attitude – ever heard of The Devil Wears Prada? Despite her intimidating temperament, she is also supportive and charitable. Emerging American designers gain her support through the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. She has raised millions for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and fundraised for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. Case in point, no magazine editor is as influential or pervasive in the fashion industry.
Featured image of Ese Otobo