Fashion wouldn’t be what it is today without the ingenious creativity of great designers. In a cut-throat industry where there is a constant thirst for creative innovation to thrive, there were only few fashion designers who were successful in finding the key to leave a legacy—a gift that eventually molded the global fashion scene.
These figures were the ones that became our bridge to having that intimate, corporeal relationship with clothing, where its form and function are fulfilled by our own bodies. To have this kind of relationship with our chosen apparel only means that we are able to express ourselves confidently. It allows us to exude a persona where we can create a visual representation that tells people who we are. From Coco Chanel as a revolutionary and challenged gender restrictions in women’s clothing, to Kate Spade who never missed a day to make us smile with the sweetness of her creations, let us then remember those who shaped the fashion industry and are now gone.
Coco Chanel’s career spanned from 1913 to 1971. She has created numerous iconic pieces, primarily because of her design ethos. She believes that women should not be restricted to a limited style of clothing; she has these progressive ideas towards the liberation of the female body.
She defined the 20s fashion with her Little Black Dress, a timeless staple that every lady needs in their closet. And to continually change the fashion scene, Chanel successfully married comfort and luxury with wool-tweed suits defying the corsetry in 50s. Thus, upon leaving the world with such sophisticated creations and design ethos, Chanel left a legacy that combines style, elegance, and comfort.
It has been more than two decades since the death of Gianni Versace. In 1997, the designer was tragically murdered at his Miami mansion. But before his untimely death, he was already able to leave a legacy. In the early 90s, Versace was able to perfectly link fashion and celebrity culture to considerable success. The moment he rounded up the supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford for his runway show, the house of Versace instantly became world famous. With his over-the-top aesthetic and putting his favored-Medusa head on most, if not all, of his pieces, one would easily notice Versace’s creation from miles away.
It was only after the war that Christian Dior was able to become really involved in fashion design. Only in 1946 was he able to found Maison Dior and eventually presented his Corolle line and his ideal hourglass shape. During that time when people were getting weary of the military look, Dior’s creations presented a newfound glamor that everyone was longing for, which Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Carmel Snow rechristened as the “New Look.” His virtues of instilling simplicity and elegance remains to be synonymous in each of the pieces created today. Earlier this year, an extraordinary exhibit took place at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris to pay homage to the French fashion house.
Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta earned international acclaim upon garbing US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. From there on, his career was on a roll. From celebrities to several international aristocracy, every wealthy women wanted to wear his creations. That’s why if you’re looking for someone who truly knows about French couture, it has to be Oscar de la Renta; he has perfectly defined the meaning of luxury, quality and style.
But if there’s one learning that de la Renta left the industry, it’s actually how it is critical to innovate without sacrificing identity. He understood that while there is so little time to create beautiful new things, it is still a must for him to consistently produce a dress that has an uncompromised glamor and executed with thoughtful technique. Perhaps that’s why upon looking into his archives, one will witness such iconic gowns in bold colors and breathtaking embellishments.
Creator of the handbag maven known for its sweet and sunny aesthetic, Kate Spade will always be a fashion figure. She successfully made an accessible handbag line that bridges high street and high-end fashion. With her quirky and optimistic characteristics, the industry was surprised upon hearing the news that she apparently took her own life at her Manhattan apartment. Recently at the New York label’s show for NYFW, the designer was given a tribute by the new creative director Nicola Glass. The collection enchantingly captured Spade’s blissful spirit by highlighting her original aesthetic—the signature spade logo.