Top 20 Famous Designers And How They Influenced The History Of Fashion
Fashion is often seen as a reflection of the good and bad times. However, even in this eternal cycle of new trends, names, and ideas, some designers forever inscribed their names in fashion history and changed not only the style of our clothes but also the style of life.
As a fashion stylist, I’ve had the opportunity to explore and discover what makes these designers so influential and how they took their ideas from vision to reality.
In this article, I’ll break down the top 20 most influential fashion designers who have left a lasting impact on the industry and how they changed how we dress.
From their iconic designs to their revolutionary techniques, get ready to explore the world’s most famous fashion idols!
Top 20 Famous Designers That Influenced Fashion
I think it’s safe to say that these 20 fashion designers have left a lasting impact on the industry and inspired generations of people from around the world.
Continue reading to learn more about these influential fashion icons.
Women worldwide still wear things that Coco Chanel invented almost a century ago. Our wardrobe today is almost impossible to imagine without tweed jackets, a little black dress, and wide trousers.
In addition, Coco Chanel contributed significantly to saving women from the shackles of corsets. Besides, she was the first to elegantly and casually add men’s things to their images (thus defining the trend of gentle masculinity, which has not disappeared until now).
Christian Dior brought back to fashion deliberate elegance and femininity, which were lost for objective reasons in the years after the Second World War.
Dior was convinced that a woman’s waist and other silhouette features should not be hidden under shapeless shirts. He invented a new look style with the same “hourglass” or “flower” silhouette that still inspires us so much.
Yves Saint Laurent
Women’s tuxedos, blouses with falling sleeves, safari-style dresses and jackets, and boots - this is far from the complete list of Yves Saint Laurents fashion inventions, which have passed the test of decades and eras.
In addition, we should be grateful to him for the first steps in saving gender boundaries in fashion and for the union of catwalks and art.
If we talk about how Gianni Versace changed our wardrobe, then leggings will be the main revolutionary attribute. His idea was to turn sportswear into everyday classics (and, in some periods, even an attribute of luxury).
But Gianni also influenced the industry: he led the cult of models, giving the world the concept of “supermodel,” and became the first to invite celebrities from the world of cinema and music to the advertising campaigns of his brand.
Men’s suits became the main subject of Giorgio Armani’s attention. First, he cared for gentlemen: he removed jackets and pants from linings, darts, shoulder pads, and excessively starched details. In such a way, the two-piece suit became more comfortable while preserving its aesthetic component and increasing it.
After that, Armani decided to help women with comfortable and representative clothing. In the 1980s, in the wake of the strengthening of feminization ideas in the United States, he offered girls to try on two-piece suits from a man’s shoulder.
It was a revolution in fashion and offices, which also went down in history as a decisive step by women in the fight for their professional authority.
Ralph Lauren invented the world-famous American preppy style, which was uncommon and suitable for all continents. Polos, jumpers, bombers, and knitted dresses of his authorship have become real classics and symbols of a comfortable and ideal life.
In addition, Ralph Lauren was not limited to clothes: he created a real empire, which today also produces decorative items, furniture, textiles, wallpaper, tableware, and much more.
The Italian designer became a classic of evening fashion, whose dresses for special occasions were sewn by the best actresses, singers, members of royal families, and first ladies at the time of his creative activity.
But for a wide range of consumers, Valentino Garavani revealed all the beauty of the red color: he once said that this range is suitable for every woman. You just need to remember that there are about 30 bright red shades and find your ideal one.
Karl Lagerfeld gave a second life to the Chanel Fashion House and showed the world what real hard work is.
The designer worked until the last days of his life and created collections for several brands at once, shot advertising campaigns himself, and always kept his finger on the pulse of socio-cultural events. And he often commented on them honestly and without embellishment, not being afraid of the “cancellation culture,” boycotts, and other markers of modernity.
Karl proved that even in fashion, there is a place for sincerity and a clearly expressed position.
Today, we can’t imagine our wardrobe without dresses and tops in linen style. However, this is not at all a fashion achievement of recent years.
Jean-Paul Gaultier was the first to bring lingerie dresses to the catwalks in the 1980s and 1990s, thus finally cementing the status of a talented and ambitious fashion hooligan.
Azzedine Alaia knew how to emphasize the female figure with the help of clothes most advantageously. And he did it among the first. Therefore, every time you put on a dress with the most form-fitting silhouette, you know who to thank for the perfect reflection in the mirror.
You are unlikely to find more than one or two photos of this designer or any details about his life. However, you will find echoes and quotes of Maison Martin Margiela in the work of almost all modern top brands.
In the 1990s, Margiela began to develop the direction of deconstructivism in fashion. So we owe him all asymmetrical silhouettes, conceptualism, and even post-irony today.
Bomber jackets, ripped jeans, checkered skirts, and T-shirts with slogans would never have appeared in our wardrobes if it weren’t for Vivienne Westwood’s fashionable hooliganism.
Her fashion statements, supplemented by punk and anti-globalist protest sentiments, still cause shock and awe among particularly sensitive conservatives. And the rest express respect because, with the courage of Vivienne Westwood, we learned how to add rock and roll elements to our outfits.
Tom Ford went down in fashion history primarily as a designer who was able to revive the House of Gucci from the ashes. It was from his presentation that the brand gained new popularity in the 1990s, and Gucci loafers once again became an object of desire for people around the world and an object for endless copying.
When Tom Ford decided to create his brand in the zeroes, he continued to develop the luxury theme. He gave the world an idea of what glamor should look like in the good sense of the word.
During the heyday of zero fashion, with its deliberate luxury and excess, Phoebe Philo began to create minimalist collections whose relevance is not measured by seasons and trends. Perfectly tailored coats, trousers, and shirts of her authorship can be worn year after year without fear of not looking stylish enough.
Thus, Phoebe Philo not only invented the formula for the perfect outfit but also approached fashion consciousness long before it became mainstream.
Miuccia Prada forever inscribed her name in fashion history. First of all, thanks to the fact that she was one of the first to invest deep socio-cultural meanings and symbols in her collections.
Today, most brands resort to storytelling and manifesto collections. But Miuccia Prada was and is the legislator of this symbiosis of fashion, culture, and social processes.
The uniqueness of Raf Simons is that he has far-reaching tendencies imposed from the outside. As a result, he creates clothes that can already take a worthy place in museums, not to mention their prospects.
Today, more and more people are talking about the future’s fashion, how digitalization will affect it, and whether our clothes will soon look like costumes from a fantasy movie. Nicolas Ghesquière participates in these discussions not by word but by deed. For more than ten years, he has been creating clothes that futurists and street-style heroines like.
Today, brands compete head-to-head in terms of their environmental friendliness and awareness. But Stella McCartney, from the beginning of her independent design career, refused to use fur and natural leather, which caused many questions in the 2000s. But she steadfastly went through the wave of surprise, insisted on her own, and eventually set an example for other designers.
This designer managed to convince not only the shareholders of the House of Gucci but also the whole world that cardigans, as if from the closet, sandals worn over socks, and half-face glasses with horn frames - this is exactly what is called “fashion and style” today.
Of course, Gucci has not abandoned its classic accessories and shoes, which bring them dividends, despite the ultra-trendy trends. But in the history of the House (as well as in global fashion history), with the arrival of the eccentric Michele, a new bright chapter has begun, which will be remembered.
The designer of Georgian origin transferred childhood post-Soviet memories into his collections and convinced the fashion public that this bad 90s aesthetic was exactly what they were missing so much in their lives.
Maybe in the future, a $1,300 black stretch skinny will be less admired by global celebrities and influencers than it is now. But this overwhelming fascination with normcore, multiplied by the fashion of the post-Soviet suburbs, will be remembered for many years.
The last years of fashion have been marked by the work of many talented designers, each of whom has left an indelible mark on the history of fashion. Their collections were both ahead of time and strikingly relevant today.
This article is a tribute to these exceptional individuals whose contributions cannot be overestimated. Without them, the fashion world would look very different today.
Thanks to the incredible talent of Phoebe Philo, Miuccia Prada, Raf Simons, Nicolas Ghesquière, Stella McCartney, Alessandro Michele, and Demna Gvasalia, fashion will continue to amaze us and create trends that we can’t help but follow. Do you have your favorite designer among them?