“Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.” -Ralph Lauren. True as that statement sounds, one can never write off the fact that it is the fashion designers who have helped millions across the world to identify their fashion statement. Fashion designers are not just individuals who have their say in a calendar year’s trends; they are artisans exhibiting immaculate perfection in their designs which make for what we call a person’s wardrobe.
Over the years, many fashion designers have grown in stature and brand value. But when it comes revolutionising the industry and inspiring a whole generation of designers, these 12 legendary fashion designers in the world in 2020 would always be mentioned as long as we talk trends and style. Take a look.
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12. Tom Ford
The American versatile genius is also the man who resurrected Gucci during its days of struggle as fashion label. Ford quickly rose to the ranks by designing men’s wear and took over the role of design director. More success followed for the fashion designer/ film director/ screenwriter as he became the impact man when Gucci took over Yves Saint Laurent in 1999. Now as the head of his own brand Tom Ford, he has dressed some of the biggest names in Hollywood albeit his success is still attributed to his earlier days with Gucci.
11. Marc Jacobs
Jewish designer Marc Jacobs made to it to the list of Time magazine’s list of “100 influential people in the world”. Prior to launching his own design label, Jacobs was the creative designer of Louis Vuitton. The American designer’s first creation was knit sweaters which were a runaway. His label named Marc Jacobs and “diffusion line” Marc has presence in 80 countries. Jacobs is the youngest recipient fashion’s industry’s most esteemed Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Perry Ellis Award for “New Fashion Talent”.
10. Donna Karan
Her brand is famously known as DKNY aka Donna Karen New York. Karen has a knack for designing clothes for young women that does not cost a fortune to own. Former assistant of Anne Klein, Karen accomplished the heights of fame courtesy her “Essentials” line, she has now devoted much of her time in her initiative known as Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT).
9. Yves Saint Laurent
Hailing from the fashion capital of the world, French designer Yves Saint was a pupil of Christian Dior. Perhaps the greatest contribution of Laurent has come in the form ready-to-wear clothing and men’s smoking jacket. Laurent has been the essence of fashion circuit and many contemporary designers consider him to be the finest and one of the inspirations of fashion designing industry.
8. Karl Lagerfeld
The German fashion designer was one of the participants who Yves Saint Laurent beat to win the International Wool Secretariat competition. But Lagerfeld did not take too long to arrive in the fashion scene as he went on to win praises with his collections in the sixties before freelancing for Chloe. Lagerfeld has collaborated with such names as Diesel, H&M and has been equally influential as photographer with his assignments for Vogue, Harper’s Bazar, Numero, Chanel and Fendi. At the moment, he is the head designer and creative director of Chanel, Fendi and an eponymous label of his own.
7. Donatella Versace
One of the forerunners in fashion industry, Donatella Versace is one of the best known female designers who have taken the world by storm with her brand Versace. She has clientele comprising Demi Moore, Jeniffer Lopez, Courtney Love and many other A list celebs who she is friends with. Extremely close to her deceased brother Gianni Versace, the perfume line named Blonde was launched by him thereby making her have a diffusion label.
6. Pierre Cardin
A pioneer in unisex fashion, Italian born French designer Cardin has garnered worldwide popularity for his avante grade style and Space Age designs besides specialising in the use of geometric shapes in creation. Cardin’s fashion genius is not limited to fabrics alone, he was contracted with American Motors and has even forayed into industrial design with thirteen basic designs and themes to be incorporated by various products.
5. Calvin Klein
Klein is one of the most established names that has not just clothes but perfumes, jewelry and watches to its name. Calvin Klein’s signature tight fit jeans were a rage the moment it was launched in 1974 and minted $200000 in the very first week. He is the first recipient of an award as designer at the CFDA show for his creations both in men and women’s wear.
4. Ralph Lauren
The man who gave men the classic Polo logo embossed shirt in 1968 which became a must have ever since; that is how you can describe Ralph Lauren. The multi billionaire designer has a fetish for automobiles which is evident from the fleet of cars he owns; some of them have also been exhibits at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
3. Giorgio Armani
The Italian designer has been more of a guardian angel for menswear and Armani’s collection for men have been highly desired by every image conscious man across the world. Giorgio Armani Corporation now produces magnificent clothing, swimwear, underwear, accessories. Armani has been an astute when it comes to setting parameters in the fashion industry. One such move from the legendary designer was that of banning male models that showed the number less than 18 in Body Mass Index or BMI.
2. Christian Dior
During the period of Second World War that saw the world riddled with war injuries, there was a French designer who brought the “New Look” silhouette to the fore and fashion was never the same again. Christian Dior specialized in creating “voluptuous” shapes from the World War era, a trend which has been beautified in the creations by The Dior Fashion House.
1. Coco Chanel
That interlocking logo on the bags, that signature fragrance famously known as Chanel no.5 and that legendary of Coco Chanel, the glamorously talented designer; perhaps the world can never thank the French designer enough for her immense contribution to the world of fashion especially for the sense of liberation and practical approach she brought with her designs in clothes, jewelry and accessories in the World War I era. Whether it’s the “Little black dress” or the complexly composed Chanel no.5 perfume, she won the hearts of one and all; and also the feat of being in the list of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
…… and the unsung legends
Fashion is not always about in-your-face approach to see the world. There have been fashion designers who have changed the stereotypic image of their countries. Others are worthy of mention for the duels which is known to a few. We can’t help but acknowledge their legendary. And they are:
• Elsa Schiaparelli- The world ought to know that Coco Chanel had a fierce and maverick rival in Elsa Schiaparelli who conformed to the “surrealist” style statement. Not trained in cloth making and yet she nailed most of the fashion market due to her raw talent that spoke freedom right from the word go. Despite being well received, her label House of Schiaparelli closed down in Dec 1954 only to see her arch rival Chanel making a return; probably because she defied change in fashion that followed World War II.
• Bibi Russell- Bangladeshi fashion designer and former international model who scorched the ramp for such brands as Armani, Karl Lagerfeld and made appearance on the cover Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Harper’s Bazar; Bibi Russell is the face of revolution, feminism built on defiance to express self, a face that has inspired her nation’s fairer sex. In her capacity as fashion designer, Russell has won accolades in Paris and India fashion weeks.
• Rohit Bal- The template of sorts for successful fashion designers hailing from India, Rohit Bal is one of the most respected names in the Indian fashion circuit. He’s set the ramp on fire in New York, Paris and has an enviable clientele of Uma Thurman, Anna Kournikova, Cindy Crawford, Pamela Anderson etc.
• Deepak Prewani- Pakistani fashion designer of Hindu ancestry, Prewani holds the Guinness world record of creating the world’s largest kurta, a sub continental attire for men. Prewani is also an actor who has modelled in the past.