From a very young age, I have loved fashion. Not just the looking at it, which is inspiring, but making it.
Having been lucky enough to have worked (played!) as a fashion designer for most of my adult life, I wanted to share with you, who have been the most influential designers from my point of view.
The list comprises of designers I have admired and been inspired by through the years.
1) COCO CHANEL: My favourite! This famous French designer changed the way women dress. She insisted that clothes must be elegant as well as comfortable. Her iconic “little black dress” is still a favourite today. Her quote “Luxury must be comfortable otherwise it is not luxury,” sums her philosophy.
2) YVES ST LAURENT: He inspired women to wear trouser suits with his classic “Tuxedo Suit.” The “Safari” look with tight trousers and thigh-high boots was also made popular by him. He was also the first designer to launch a “ready to wear” range making high-end fashion more affordable.
3) GIORGIO ARMANI: Noted for his menswear – clean tailored lines and impeccable quality. He revolutionised suits by introducing a more natural fit and subtle colour palette. His ladies suits are soft and beautifully finished.
4) GIANNI VERSACE: Gianni brought vitality and art to the fashion world. His use of innovative materials and cutting edge techniques started a new trend in what was possible for clothing.
He dressed a number of superstars and was the first designer to realize the value of celebrities to showcase his designs. After his death, his sister Donatella took over and continues to surprise and delight in true Versace style.
5) RALPH LAUREN: Another favourite! His easy to wear and sporty designs continue to set trends. Interesting detailing and great quality which is hard to match. He introduced the classic cotton mesh polo shirt. Fringed jackets and stunning cowboy boots were re-designed as must have fashion items.
6) DONNA KARAN: Donna believes in clothes for the modern women. With her innovative “Capsule Wardrobe” featuring 7 easy pieces that could be mixed and matched, she re-designed the fashion industry. She was also one of the first designers to use stretch fabrics insisting on comfortable clothes that flatter the female figure.
7) MARIANNE FASSLER: South Africa’s (anti) fashion trailblazer has brought a new perspective to African fashion. More art than fashion, she led the way for future designers to embrace African culture and prints. Her innovative and colourful designs are an inspiration and continue to elicit a sense of awe.
There are of course many other influential and Inspiring Designers, too many to mention here. This, here, is just a taste of the exciting world of Fashion. A world that never stops changing and therefore can never be boring.