Valentino started his brilliant and admirable career in the world of fashion in 1950 when he moved to Paris to study design. His classically elegant and feminine designs made women look utterly glamorous. The Italian maestro worked at houses Dessus and Laroche before going back to Rome to set up his business in 1959. By the mid-1960s, Valentino was a favorite designer of the world’s best-dressed women, including Jacqueline Kennedy. Among his signatures is a particular fabric shade, known as “Valentino red.”
Fashion designer Jimmy Choo was born in Penang, Malaysia in 1961. He used the craftsmanship he learned from his father, also a cobbler, to create some of the most coveted shoes in the world. Choo opened his first shop in Hackney in 1986 in an old hospital building. Within two years of opening his shop, Choo’s shoes were featured in an eight-page spread in Vogue magazine. Soon, Choo became the darling of the celebrity world, in particular Princess Diana, who donned Choo’s footwear seemingly everywhere she went. Jimmy Choo rose to fame for the quality and style of his handmade women’s shoes.
Born in January of 1905, this French designer was best known for his distinctive “New Look” silhouette. First shown in 1947; his suits and dresses revolutionized the way women dressed after the Second World War. Today, talented designer John Galliano carries on the legendary designer’s legacy in Paris, where he creates dramatic couture ball gowns, chic prêt-a-porter, and luxurious accessories for Dior. Galliano’s talent and his over-the-top runway shows have ensured that the brand remains strong and viable in today’s world…
Halston’s association with Jackie Kennedy was a crucial factor in his rising fame; she generally eschewed hats until she became charmed by Halston’s distinctive pillbox styles during the Sixties. She wore one of his designs to the Presidential Inauguration in 1961; she was also wearing a pillbox hat (in pink) on the day her husband, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated.
Yamamoto was born in Yokohama, Japan on October 3, 1943. He studied law at Keio University and graduated in 1966 with a law degree. He continued his studies on fashion design at the famous Bunkafukuso Gakuin, a fashion institute in Tokyo. Yamamoto blends the exotic and powerful designs of traditional Japanese dress with Western daywear, and achieves a unique, abstract style. He is an uncompromising, nontraditional designer. Yamamoto drapes and wraps the body in unstructured, loose, voluminous garments, similar in style and philosophy to those of Rei Kawakubo. Many of his clothes have additional flaps, pockets and straps.
The top icon of fashion design, Elsa Schiaparelli was born on September 10, 1890, in Italy. After working at a boutique in New York, Schiaparelli moved to Paris, where she began designing her own clothes. Her work and sense of style shaped the look of fashion in the 1920s and ’30s, and her clothes were worn by some of the world’s most famous women, including American actress Greta Garbo. Schiaparelli died in Paris on November 13, 1973.
Stella McCartney went fresh from graduation at Central Saint Martins to chief designer at Chloé in 1997. Le Style Stella – a raunchy mix of rock ‘n’ roll and girly glamour – established Chloé as the best selling label in Paris and its designer as a card-carrying member of the fashion aristocracy. In 2000, McCartney left Chloé and signed a deal with the Gucci Group to launch her successful signature label.
Valentino is known for his flamboyant lifestyle and his love of luxury and beauty. He lives with his lover of 50 years in a series of lush villas throughout the world. His jet-set lifestyle and extensive collection of priceless art are not the only rewards he has received for his talents: France’s President Chirac also awarded him the Legion d’Honneur in 2006.
The Spanish fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga was born on January 21 in 1895. After studying dressmaking as a child, by age 20, Cristobal started his own brand and became Spanish’s leading couturier. In 1937, he moved to Paris due to the Spanish Civil War. Balenciaga’s designs are famous by its capes, flowing clothes without waistlines, as well as the use of plastic for rainwear. Cristobal died in 1972 in Valencia, Spain.
In 1966 Paco Rabanne opened his own outlet at the age of 32, where he earned international repute for his metal-linked plastic-disc dresses, sun goggles and jewelry made of plastic in primary colors. Paco Rabanne’s dresses made of small plastic tiles linked together by chains, stole the show in Paris. His first collection, titled “12 Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials,” sums up his philosophy that “the only new frontier left in fashion is the finding of new materials.” Throughout his career, Rabanne experimented with everything from plastic and aluminum to fiberglass and paper to create futuristic, eccentric, yet highly influential garments.
London has long been the capital of the United Kingdom fashion industry and has a wide range of foreign designs which have integrated with modern British styles. Typical, British design is smart but innovative yet recently has become more and more unconventional, fusing traditional styles with modern techniques. Vintage styles play an important role in the British fashion and styling industry. Stylists regularly 'mix and match' the old with the new, which gives British style that unique, bohemian aesthetic that many of the other fashion capitals try to imitate. Irish fashion (both design and styling) is also heavily influenced by fashion trends from Britain.
Being way more than a famous shoe designer, Manolo Blahnik is the man who can single-handedly make a woman feel instantly sexy with his ultra sophisticated, wildly fun high heel shoes. Becoming a household name through shows like Sex and the City and his never ending list of celebrity endorsements, Manolo Blahnik has become one of the most influential shoe designers of our time. Unfortunately it is known in fashion circles that when Blahnik dies there will be no more Manolos. There is no protégé or heir and no desire from the great designer to have the label continue without him.