If you Google New York fashion designers you will find that the majority of the major league fashion designers in this particular fashion hub are men. Of course, there is nothing wrong with giving credit where it’s due, and appreciating the greats like Marc Jacobs and Jason Wu. But this does beg the question, ‘Is it easier to make your mark in the New York fashion scene if you’re a man?’ Over the past eight years, the Vogue Fashion Fund prize has only gone to a woman on two occasions. Considering the substantial role female designers have played in the evolution of fashion, this is disheartening. Especially when you think of groundbreaking designers like Mary Quant and Coco Chanel who changed the industry and paved the way for contemporary fashion. So, in recognition of these vanguards of fashion, here is a list of 25 of the most influential women in fashion.
Introduced the bias cut and made Greek style popular. She is one of the 20th century’s most influential designers.
Created the floor-length pleated gown and is known as the mistress of the draped and wrapped dress.
is as influential today as when she first introduced her unique line by ‘borrowing’ from menswear.
Valentina is the pioneer of red carpet glamour and responsible for hundreds, if not thousands of dramatic evening dresses for the elite of Hollywood.
Mary Quant is credited with inventing the mini-skirt and hot-pantsץ She played an integral role in the female fashion liberation.
Rei Kawakubo introduced a merge between Japanese and Western fashion in the 1980s.
Jeanne Paquin was recognized not only for her fashion designs – pastel colored evening dresses – but also for her knack for courageous and original advertising. She organized fashion shows and planted her models in various high-society events. She is also considered as one of the first female couturiers.
Elsa Schiaparelli is known as the grandmother of avant-garde fashion. She was also influential in developing structure jackets made for women.
Vivienne Westwood can be thanked for taking the new wave and punk into mainstream fashion.
Claire Mccardell invented American sportswear and was the first fashion designer to get the America’s Women of Achievement award from President Truman.
Bonnie Cashin was also known for her ready-to-wear clothing, the functional yet aesthetic layered look, and also for drastically minimizing darts and seams.
Sonia Rykiel created super soft sweaters and dresses and is known as the Queen of knits.
Barbara Hulnicki brought floppy felt hats, mini-skirts, velvet pantsuits and feather boas to a sparkling clientele that included The Rolling Stones and David Bowie.
Katharine Hamnett revolutionized the slogan t-shirt. It sounds simple but it has lasted, just take a look at your wardrobe.
Madeleine Chèruit was a dressmaker at Raudnitz & Cie House of Couture. Her exceptional talent helped her become the first woman in charge of a top fashion house in France. She renamed it to Chèruit.
Carolina Herrera made sure that the white shirt became a staple in every woman’s cupboard and built an empire on her chic and elegant ranges.
Vera Wang not only created some of the most famous wedding dresses, but is also known as a formidable business person.
Stella McCartney brought flattering and feminine clothing to the world with a focus on keeping it environmentally conscious and vegan.
Phoebe Philo is responsible for Chloe and Celine and known as one of the most powerful and respected contemporary designers of our time.
Donna Karan developed stylish items that became the staple for career women. Her lines are comfortable, but also powerful.
Miuccia Prada is iconic for her ever-increasing range that includes nylon handbags and 50s inspired clothing.
Kate and Laura Mulleavy founded the Rodarte label in 2005 and took the fashion world by storm with pinked chiffons and soft flutters. They have won several awards and honors.
Jeanne Lanvin was a trained dressmaker and milliner. She became known for her beautiful children’s clothing designs and was eventually the first designer to create a lifestyle brand with home décor, perfume, and clothing design incorporated into the label.
Diane von Furstenberg introduced the wrap dress and works tirelessly to set healthier standards in the fashion industry.
Betsey Johnson used her over-the-top designs to become a preferred designer to the 1970s style icons. She brought the fun into fashion and was also the first to suggest a cartwheel at the end of the runway.
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