From the dawn of time, fashion has enabled people to express themselves and display their personalities for all to see. It’s a way to reveal who you are, what you stand for, and what you like. You can choose from a variety of different clothing styles to emulate or to just borrow ideas from to create a unique personal style. Many people draw their fashion sense from modern celebrities and influencers nowadays, but there are still a few fashion icons that you should know about. Every once in a while, a person comes along who is so influential in fashion that they live on as an icon long after they’re gone. Here are some of the most influential fashion icons of all time.
Coco Chanel is one of the most influential fashion designers of all time. Born in France in 1883, she spent her childhood learning to sew in an orphanage. By the 1920s, she released her first perfume and the Chanel suit and little black dress that would signify her brand. Her goal was to make luxury clothing that was comfortable for women. She is known for her iconic sophisticated outfits and classic accessories. She was truly the first pioneer in comfortably classic styles. She was one of the first designers to borrow influences from menswear and feminize them to help women move away from corsets.Fashion Icons That You Should Know
Grace Kelly was a model, award-winning actress, and princess of Monaco. She truly exemplified what it means to be an American beauty. Her elegant yet approachable classic style made her fashionable and attainable. She mastered the “every-girl” look while maintaining a regal appearance; she was a real-life princess, after all. Her style was feminine and chic. Her love of the circle skirt popularized Christian Dior’s “New Look,” a more fitted, padded, and exaggerated line of clothing. She wore limited accessories, long, elegant dresses, and simple, perfectly tailored pants and tops. Her classic look is the perfect representation of classic 1950s style that lives on today.
Janis Joplin was a rock, blues, and soul music singer. She rose to fame because of her powerful voice. She was popular in the 1960s, but her style went far beyond the flower-child hippie who reigned over the fashion world at that time. She was a true, edgy, bohemian style icon with women’s western fashion influences. She wore extraordinary clothing with a tinge of unhinged, unkempt beauty. She truly expressed herself with her clothing. In every outfit she wore, you can see her personality displayed in her stylistic choices. She began the ever-reigning fashion trend of expression and self-acceptance. She loved to layer extreme accessories. She was also known to mix and match her clothing’s occasions, meaning she would wear one elegant piece with a casual piece. The bottom line is that Joplin wore what she wanted, when she wanted. And that still resonates in fashion today.
Josephine Baker was an amazing woman for many reasons. She started out as chorus line performer in Missouri and quickly rose to fame after moving to Paris in 1925. She was famous for her audacious dancing and costumes—and possibly for the long walks down the streets of Paris she took with Chiquita, her pet cheetah. During her ascension into fame, Baker worked as a spy for the French resistance by relaying information she overheard during performances to expose French officials who were secretly working for the Germans. Her style was the definition of art deco and glamour. She was known for her slicked-down hair and bold fashion choices. She wasn’t afraid to don a barely-there dress with a multitude of art deco jewelry. Her style was truly an embodiment of the art deco movement and a foreshadowing of the carefree bohemian style to come decades after she passed.
Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium and survived malnutrition and other struggles during World War II. She was an extremely talented ballerina and used her talent to raise money for the Dutch resistance. She eventually began acting and rose to fame after starring in Roman Holiday, a now famous film. She quickly became known for her classic style. Her fashion sense is still called upon today to inspire timeless looks. She matched her clothing perfectly and maintained a balance between elegance and comfort. Her style was immutable, as she wasn’t one to take fashion risks or adhere to the fickle fads that came and went during her career.
Marilyn Monroe was a tragically troubled actress who rose to fame from a complex and hardened childhood filled with loss and abuse. She began as a model for pin-up-style photos and quickly changed her appearance into the blonde bombshell she would go on to be known for. She landed a contract with 20th Century Fox and went on to become one of the most famous actresses to appear on the silver screen. She was typically typecast, which solidified her iconic public image. Her beauty and style lives on today. She was known for wearing clothing and makeup that accentuated her feminine style.
Elizabeth Taylor was a famous and talented actress. She was known for her simple style that nevertheless exuded femininity. She wore many dresses with very minimal cuts and loads of jewelry. She loved to jazz up her style choices with diamonds. From bracelets to rings, necklaces, and earrings, she was constantly covered in diamonds. She experimented with bolder looks as she aged but always kept true to her predominantly glitzy, glamourous style. Her style is still one designers draw upon today for the subtle minimalism that reigns in popularity, especially with contemporary red-carpet superstars.
Truly the people’s princess, Princess Diana exemplified modern elegance. She pushed boundaries of royal dress by incorporating some of the everyday styles of her time into her outfits. Her style consisted of brightly colored clothing informed by regality and intention. She communicated through her clothing and paved the way for other female leaders and icons. She was known to have fun with her fashion and inspired other women to be confident in their clothing choices as well.