Want to carve out your place in the fashion industry? The history of fashion design is filled with brave entrepreneurs and artistic trailblazers who defined the styles that surround us today—and as someone with a passion for the field, you’ll be expected to know the clothing and history of these important fashion designers. Remember, their names are more than labels or brands; they are legacies of determination and creativity.
1. Elsa Schiaparelli
This Italian designer found much of her inspiration from the Surrealism and Dada art movements. A rival of Coco Chanel, Schiaparelli is known for the avant-garde creativity in her designs, which included such oddities as a lobster dress and shoe hat.
2. Pierre Cardin
Cardin's highly original style centered around geometry, and he's attributed with creating the modern bubble dress. He later developed one of the first package trims available in American cars with the AMC Javelin's colorful interior.
3. Coco Chanel
One of the most prolific and influential fashion designers of all time, Chanel rose to fame in the 1920s with her innovative use of jersey fabric and the development of every woman's wardrobe staple: the little black dress.
4. Yves St. Laurent
This legendary designer is best known for creating the first French ready-to-wear line, as well as developing menswear styles for women, such as the innovative and renowned "Le Smoking" suit.
5. Hubert de Givenchy
Givenchy worked alongside designers Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen while dressing icons such as Grace Kelly. Most notably, he designed almost all of Audrey Hepburn's classic movie wardrobes.
6. Azzedine Alaïa
When Cher from Clueless insists that she can't ruin her dress by lying on the street during a robbery, she gives one reason: "It's an Alaïa." This elusive Tunisian fashion designer is known for dressing an array of celebrities while never selling out in his marketing.
7. Vivienne Westwood
Westwood began her career working for Malcolm McLaren of the Sex Pistols, and her contributions to punk fashion and new wave street style are unrivaled. Carrie Bradshaw's Vivienne Westwood wedding dress in the Sex and the City movie is considered one of the show's most notable designs.
8. Miuccia Prada
The founder of both Prada and Miu Miu, this legendary Italian designer is known for her minimalist and comfortable styles, with Miu Miu a more affordable take on her personal wardrobe.
9. Valentino Garavani
The man behind the Valentino label has designed for a collection of starlets and socialites such as Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Lee Radziwill. Jackie Kennedy's gown for her wedding to Aristotle Onassis was a Valentino original, and he's well known for his vibrantly colored "Valentino red" dresses.
10. Paul Poiret
Poiret is credited with introducing the draping technique to fashion, thus giving women an alternative to corsets and launching the modern aesthetic still seen today in fashion marketing and sales.
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