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Shining Stars – Women who changed the face of fashion and design

last updated at February 14, 2023 | 5 min Read

For ages now, many inspiring and marvellous women have successfully carved out a niche for themselves in the world of fashion and graphic design. They have efficaciously translated their visions to create lifestyle brands, namesake signature lines, exquisite jewellery labels, making lasting contributions in countless ways. They have made a world of difference in the fashion and design industry by introducing innovations with emphasis to do things in a better way. From Coco Chanel to contemporaries like Rei Kawakuba, artistic individuals have curated designs that have transformed the face of fashion and how!

From the glam styles of the electrifying twenties and the exemplary fashion styles of the 1930s to the ultra-chic, cool designs of the present times, the fashion and design industry has witnessed many iconic trendsetters. Let's turn the spotlight on some of the most influential women who have impacted the fashion world with their timeless and classic designs and styles:

Coco Chanel

The quintessential French designer, Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel, is the founder of the famous Chanel brand. She elucidated the notion of closet staples that remains strong even today. The little black dress, the classic cocktail necklace, the tweed jacket continues to be the go-to of every fashionista to this day. She made her mark in the fashion industry during World War I when she used jersey fabric, a material characteristically earmarked for underwear, prominently in her collection. She also gets the credit for inventing pants for women along with shorter, boxy and easy-to-move clothes, liberating women from Poiret-inspired skirts and restrictive corsets. She extended her brand to include her celebrated perfumes which go on to be a much sought-after product.


Elsa Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli, the Italian designer, started her fashion career in 1927 with her trademark hand-knit trompe l'oeil sweater which became an instant hit with fashionistas. Her exceptional style defined by well-fitting clothes with fashionable, unexpected twists caught the fancy of stylish women who couldn't get enough of her fabulous designs. So much so that she soon found herself on the cover for the prestigious TIME magazine, the first women fashion designer to earn such an honour. She was also the first to employ visible zippers as statement pieces. She collaborated with artists like Meret Oppenheim and Salvador Dali to mould the look and concept of fashion.



Elsa Peretti

A former model turned philanthropist and jewellery designer, Elsa Peretti, set the ball rolling for translating the wonders of the natural world into jewellery designs. Her ground-breaking, eternal aesthetic inspired her to design sensual, divine and sculptural pieces. Her modern creations enthralled the fashion world after she united with Tiffany & Co. in 1974. She brought a shift in the use of diamonds for everyday wear and uplifted the status of sterling silver. Some of her iconic work includes the Tiffany teardrop, round pendant necklace.

Rei Kawakuba

Rei Kawakuba, the Japanese fashion designer, is the founder of Dover Street Market and Comme des Garcons with much of her work based in Paris and Tokyo. Her distinct designs reflect the perfect amalgamation of Japanese and Western influences. She entirely transformed the Paris fashion scene with her striking and spectacular style of clothing. Large, geometric frames and ripped dresses in neutral colours are her signature style. As a fierce, modern designer, she always defied the traditional fashion constructs without conceding fine art over wearability.


Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada, Mario Prada's youngest granddaughter, metamorphosed the international brand Prada into an esteemed, au fait fashion powerhouse. Her vision and understanding of the fashion novelties contributed immensely to the success of the global fashion house. In 1992, she launched another successful venture, Miu Miu. Her best works include the magnificent series of backpacks and black nylon handbags. The Italian designer also spearheaded to open a contemporary art gallery in 2002 to showcase her inspiring and revolutionary work.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney, daughter of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, is a champion of ethical and environmentally-conscious fashion. As an animal rights enthusiast and lifetime vegetarian, McCartney has always employed vegan fur and leather in her bags, clothing and accessories for her namesake line since its launch in 2001. Her elegant designs are trendy, feminine, flattering and wearable and favourite with both fashionistas and everyday woman. She has bagged many awards for her outstanding work in the field of fashion including VH1/Vogue Designer of the Year Award 2002.

Bouchra Ezzahraoui

Moroccan-born, Bouchra Ezzahraoui, joined the brand Goldman Sachs and later co-founded her own company AUrate to create a brand "made by women for women" to initiate revolutionary changes in the fine jewellery industry. She is motivated to celebrate modern, trendy, minimalist jewellery without comprising on quality and integrities. The focus is to provide customers with gorgeous and coveted jewellery pieces that are not only fairly-priced but are ethically-sourced as well. The aim is to recognise the individuality and diversity of customers and give them more power by trying to understand what they want or desire and then concentrate on delivering that. It's no surprise that her label is truly inspiring and a success.


Betsey Johnson

Quirky, edgy and fun, quite describes the style of this exotic designer. Her overly-embellished, unusual, out-of-the-box pieces have left an unforgettable impression on the fashion scene forever. During the '70s, she established the New York City street fashion with her collaborator, Edie Sedgwick. Her incredible passion for art and dance has influenced her fashion band vastly. And the New York Fashion Week saw her showcase her legendary end-of-show cartwheel, clearly recognising the fact that there can be no aesthetics like Betsy Johnson's.

All these power influencers are total winners in their own right. They chose not to follow the beaten path, disregard the rule book and break away from the shackles of traditional ways of fashion and design to restyle and revamp it. These exemplary women are the real shining stars of the fashion world. And for their pioneering work and innovative contributions, their names will be imprinted on our minds and the fashion world forever.



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