The fashion street is paved with pink bricks. From Jeanne Lanvin to Phoebe Philo, here are the designers who have elevated the concept of fashion over the years

Women , as we know, are the fulcrum of fashion . We all love it of course, but some predestined by its extraordinary charm have inspired it, while others have become timeless icons and interpreters. Still others have created and shaped it with their own genius and their own hands, tracing the way. And the further we go back into the pages of the history of fashion books , the more we realize that we are not only talking about extraordinary couturiers and designers, but also about courageous women who have been able to realize what at certain historical moments seemed like impossible dreams for the fair sex . So let’s talk about entrepreneursvisionary and talented, of women who knew how to risk everything in order to join the many excellent male names in the sector and be able to create what they felt (rightly!) they were born for. These are the  immortal famous designers  who, together with their  creations, have made and revolutionized the  history of fashion and the concept of style .

To pay homage to these incredible women, we decided to take you to discover their names and the heritage fashion they left us (and continue to leave us!), Through 10 portraits of icons of the fashion industry . How many of the stories of these great designers do you really know?

1. Jeanne Lanvin

It all began in 1889 in a small hat shop, located in the beating heart of Paris. To open it is a very young milliner of just 22 years, Jeanne Lanvin , determined to seduce the French capital first and then the world with her creations. In just four years it is already the consecration: Jeanne gives life to her fashion house, which ‘today we know simply as Lanvin .

Pioneer of the mini me mother-child, talented stylist and visionary entrepreneur, Jeanne Lanvin makes her sartorial maison grow more and more to export – in the first decades of the 20th century – her style all over the world with her proverbial determination and confidentiality respect to worldly life. And she is still one of the most virtuous examples in fashion and female entrepreneurship for all of us.

Jeanne Lanvin

2. Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel, born Gabrielle Chanel , is undoubtedly one of the most important female figures of the 20th century. In fashion and not hers Her childhood was not lucky: her mother’s death and her father’s abandonment made her an orphan entrusted to the care of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Aubazine. And it is here, in these years that have seen her immersed in the antithesis between black and white and in the austerity of rigorous women’s clothing, that Gabrielle begins to become the one who one day the whole world will call Coco .

But it is in Paris in the early 1900s that the rise of the woman who will change fashion is truly consecrated . The use of jersey and the first carigan-pullover-skirt triptych, tweed , Chanel N. 5 (or the most famous perfume ever, capable years later of tying its imagination double-stranded to an icon like Marylin Monroe) and the birth of the Chanel 2.55 , aka the most loved ( and copied !) bag in the world .in mesh. There are so many visionary insights capable of changing the history (of fashion and women) left by Mademoiselle Coco Chanel that it would take a book to be able to mention them all.

On the other hand, we found two words to summarize her precious heritage, even if they probably won’t sound particularly original to you: style and elegance , two concepts completely upset by Coco. Why it must be said: there is a fashion ahead of Chanel and a fashion after Chanel . But on the other hand, as Gabrielle liked to remember: “Fashion passes, style remains” . And Coco is eternal.

Chanel3. Elsa Schiaparelli

We cannot talk about Coco without also talking about her antagonist. We obviously refer to Elsa Schiaparelli , the iconic designer lover of art and literature who invented pink . Her rivalry with Gabrielle Chanel in the 1930s animates the early stages of the fashion system and gives life to unforgettable style duels , fought with clothes and collections. If Coco is attributed with a minimal elegance made of white, black and avant-garde fabrics, Elsa is the eccentric world populated by whimsical and conceptual clothes close to the world of art and offered to movie and entertainment stars. The common thread between the two is –ça va sans dire – in the advanced classes.

Born in Rome and lived between Switzerland, the United States and France, Elsa has illustrious ancestors, a comfortable life and an excellent education.It is in the Big Apple that Schiap (as she is destined to become known in France) approaches the fashion, but it was in Europe – to be precise in Paris – that he was reborn as a real star.His maison became very famous in a snap of his fingers and was frequented by the most popular artists of the time, from Giacometti to Dalì. Elsa’s proximity to the avant-garde Dadaist and Cubist led her to create dresses close to art, such as the famous lobster dress developed no less than with her friend Salvador Dalì.

His most important legacy? The shocking pink of course, or an intense shade of magenta whose intuition dates back to 1936 and which has inspired many dresses that have become film celebrities, such as Marylin’s mermaid dress in the film ” Men prefer blondes “. And if it is not known whether men really have a weakness for golden hair, there is no fashion lover who still does not worship the unconventional elegance of the Schiaparelli Maison .


4. Mary Quant

Let’s leave the elegant Parisian lounges and move for a moment on the streets of London , and more precisely in Chelsea. It is here that in 1955 – on the first floor of a house on the King’s Road – a Barbara Mary Quant in her twenties opened Bazaar , a small avant-garde boutique destined to become a piece of history. In fact, Bazaar is not just a boutique that offers unique pieces at affordable prices, but a conceptually brand new store : it is at the same time a meeting point, a workshop for emerging talents and a place to sip drinks and listen to good music. And if in all of Europe they are the couturiersto dictate the law with minimal elegance, sliced ​​and bon ton dresses, Mary in her London corner proposes a different , newer and more emancipated model of woman.

The hems begin to shorten rapidly and in proportion to the increasing level of self-determination of the female universe , culminating in a real bomb that – in 1963 – forever changes the history of fashion and frees millions of girls from the preconceived children of the most austere patriarchy (and the legs!): the miniskirt .

It seems that it was not only the London girls that inspired Mary Quant in her most famous creation, but also the four-wheeler Mini Minor launched a short time before with the aim of rejuvenating the image of the car. , in the midst of Swinging London, Mary’s mini skirt becomes a real revolution with strokes of centimeters, which leads not only to scream at the world that the role of women in the world is changing, but also to redefine the concept of the female image with the advent of models like Twiggy. If this is not the history of fashion !

Credits: Getty Images

5. Vivienne Westwood

We remain in the homeland of Queen Elizabeth II , in England, where in 1941 the red-haired fashion rebel was born who today is, coincidentally, the Queen of the Order of the British Empire of the Queen . the one who brought punk into fashion . Or fashion in punk , you name it.

We are in 1971 and the chameleon Vivienne opens, just like Mary Quant, at 430 King’s Road her shop Let it Rock – together with her partner Malcom McLaren, who will later become the manager of the Sex Pistols – in which she begins to design and propose pullovers in mohair and brothel creeper shoes at Teddy Boy , opposing the dominant hippie style . In 1975 the name of the store changes to Sex , for just one year, where Vivienne offers very pushed and fetish clothing. But it is in ’76 that Seditionaries – Clothes for Heroes was born and it is here that, linked to the figure of the Sex Pistols , Westwoodshe becomes our lady of punk and dictates the rules within fashion. It is already history.

The King’s Road store will change its skin many more times but in fact Vivienne will consolidate her connection with music in the eighties, also interpreting the New Romantic scene with bands like Duran Duran and consolidating her personality in the world of fashion . more famous? The exact opposite of Chanel’s philosophy: “ When in doubt, overdress!”.

Vivienne Westwood

6. Jil Sander

We move to Germany. And to meet who if not the queen of the basic Jil Sander ? Born in 1943, he founded his fashion house in 1973 and immediately stands out for a clean and essential style , built on the quality of the raw material and fittings that embrace and “follow” the female body instead of “dressing” it with unnecessary decorations. Jil is a lover of Made in Italy and neutral colors and she will build a new concept of androgynous elegance that we can absolutely define timeless. But she especially she is seriously motivated by fashionit was impractical in those years to take this precise path, built on a DNA to which it will always remain faithful: elegance and comfort, devoid of all the superfluous.

His philosophy is still recognizable today despite the fact that the brand was acquired by the Prada group at the end of the 90s. So recognizable and authentic that it prompted a giant like Uniqlo to ask her for a collaboration for a capsule collection called J + and sold out in a very short time. More timeless than that …

Sander, Jil

7. DianeVon Furstenberg

Diane Von Furstenberg was born in Belgium in 1946. Stylist and entrepreneur with US citizenship, she launched her line in 1972. In just two years she had an intuition that immediately made her a celebrity and created what will in fact be a real revolution in women’s  wardrobes : The wrap dress , or the dressing gown.

The designer’s intent is to tell a new concept of woman through the creation of a  dress  that represents “ the sartorial symbol of women’s sexual liberation ”, as stated by Diane herself . No zips or buttons, only soft silk jersey , in a thousand and one print, ready to wrap women in such comfort and refinement. Definitely a crackdown that has marked and continues to mark fashion in many forms. Brava Diane !

Diane von Furstenberg

8. Miuccia Prada

We are in 1948, in Milan, and Maria Bianchi was born.This name will not say much to most people, but if we take a time jump in the 70s when Maria crosses the threshold of the family business and becomes Miuccia Prada it will certainly be everything In 1978, in fact, the one who is about to become known to the world as Miuccia, takes over the leadership of the company founded by her grandfather Mario Prada and, in a short time, transforms it from a simple shop in the heart of the Milanese city into a very modern fashion house . And, in a little more, in a true philosophy of fashion capable of revolutionizing the way of understanding “dressing” worldwide.

If I did anything, it was making the ugly attractive .” This is the self-analysis of a few years ago by Miuccia Prada herself with respect to her work, in a famous interview with the New York Times . And in fact the culture of ugly chic – that is the aesthetics of ugly – cultivated by the Milanese maison has been a fundamental part that has influenced modern fashion like little else . is most loved (and worn!) by the designer herself , influenced by a decade-long wardrobe made up of vintage pieces and uniformsmilitary and maid style. But few understand it.

It is in the 90s that the consecration arrives, thanks to the rediscovery of nylon and the Miu Miu collection . But above all thanks to the expression of a feminist fashion , which frees women from the chains of hypersexualization and puts them back at the center of what they like, not men. “ Prada is a distillation of personality ”, someone will write. There could not be a better expression to define the maison even today, because Prada is a distillation of Miuccia ‘s personality .

Miuccia Prada

9. Stella McCartney

If you have McCartney by surname and you are the daughter of none other than a living legend of music like Paul, the historic voice of the Beatles , the chances of making history as a dad (in any sector) will be very few. the genius gene because Stella has done it all right, going from being a child prodigy to an authentic star . Of fashion of course.

Born in 1971, she graduated in 1995 and has a rapid rise that leads her to be director of the Chloé brand in Paris first and to collaborate with big names in the sector such as Gucci and Adidas then.But the real turning point is when Stella McCartney finally succeeds to create a collection that bears his name. The brand is growing in record time – exactly as it suits a former enfant prodige – and Stella has the opportunity to develop her real project, which has always been a very laudable battle: a more ethical and eco-sustainable fashion .

So here it is Stella McCartney ‘s real crackdown : it’s not just the extremely coherent and always perfectly fitting fashion lines, but all the study and development used for a new concept that is more aware of a fashion that is respectful of our Planet. Biodegradable plateaus and the development of vegetable leathers , taken from mushrooms or cactus, are just some of the flagships of this contemporary designer who has managed to impose a vision and a new concept of fashion . This was apparently impossible until recently.  

Stella McCartney

10. Phoebe Philo

British, born in 1973, Phoebe Philo is part of a whole new generation of designers who continue to write the history of fashion . The real success for Phoebe comes in 2008, when she lands in the most bourgeois maison in all of France: Céline . Upon Phoebe’s arrival, the fashion house seems to have lost its enamel, that allure that she had always distinguished her, due to a series of bankruptcies to say the least.

Nobody expects what is about to happen, yet it happens: the new creative director brings a new minimal chic philosophy and establishes itself as the new driving force of clean fashion without excess. It is a triumph of critics and audiences and the brand, under her long direction, is not only reborn, but thrives and shines again.

It will be like this for 10 long years, until 2018, the year in which Phoebe leaves the management of the brand amidst the bewilderment of the followers of her philosophy who, tearing their clothes, give life to Old Céline , to testify that the maison has suffered without her an unprecedented change of skin and identity. It is another thing in short, because Céline was now Phoebe Philo . Today it seems that the designeris about to return with a personal project, but in the meantime her legacy is already imprinted in the contemporary style because no one like her has influenced our way of dressing here and now. In short, not just a designer but a contemporary icon of a whole new modern elegance that knows how to move the masses, that’s who Phoebe Philo is. And here is the real revolution of her.

Credits: Getty Images

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