One Stitch at a Time: The World’s Top Fashion Designers Throughout History

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Fashion is something that has dominated the world for many years. Even during the World Wars, fashion was a profitable business, and over the years there have been a multitude of trends, some of which have been reinvented recently whilst others have been left in the history books (thankfully!).


The 20th Century was a huge turning point for fashion and there were a number of fashion designers who came along to improve both men’s and women’s clothing ranges. Creating unique and distinguished pieces, the below list is just some of the best designers we’ve witnessed in the last 100 years or so:

Coco Chanel

With a motto “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different”, Coco Chanel paved the way for women’s fashion and still continues to do so today. This French-based designer was an influential figure who created expensive simplicity, practical design and modern apparel that was elegant, chic and luxurious. And, as the only fashion designer to make the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century list, it’s clear she was a force to be reckoned with.

Donna Karan

Initially working as the head of a design team, Donna Karan launched a number of popular design pieces, including the world-renowned “Seven Easy Pieces”. Donna Karen New York (DKNY) was solely created by this fashion designer and has become a large fashion label that’s popular all over the world today.

Giorgio Armani

This Italian fashion designer is known worldwide for his tailored lines and clean cut looks and founded the label Armani in 1975. As of 2012, he had a personal fortune worth $7 billion and an annual company turnover of $1.6 billion and he was acclaimed the most successful Italian designer of all time. Giorgio Armani was also the first designer to stop models working for him who had a body mass index (BMI) under 18.

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein is a designer who built his brand not only on the clothes he created but his own personal charm and good looks. Over the years there have been many rumors about the New York designer but this has only fueled the appeal of his clothing ranges. Klein’s biggest rival is Ralph Lauren who is said to have been envious of how Klein was able to work a room so well.

Donatella Versace

After her brother Gianni Versace was tragically murdered in 1997, Donatella took over the Versace reigns and helped it to reach new heights. She focused on catering her shops for different fashion centers around the world, including New York and Milan and succeeded in getting the endorsement of celebrities such as Madonna and Jennifer Lopez.

Ralph Lauren

Perhaps most well-known for the polo shirt with the Ralph Lauren logo, this fashion designer has become widely recognized as one of the most successful designers of all time. Lauren first introduced the infamous Polo logo in 1970 when it appeared as part of women’s suits that had been designed with a classic masculine style. Worth a reported $7.5 billion, Ralph Lauren also collects classic and rare cars and boasts such a unique collection that Boston Museum of Fine Arts featured it.

Christian Dior

The “New Look” silhouette is what this French designer is so well known for and this first appeared on the scene just after World War II in 1947. Dior revolutionized how women dressed and the legend of this designer is today carried forward by John Galliano. Galliano creates luxurious accessories, chic outfits and couture ball gowns for his customers and has made sure the Dior name lives on.

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent became a popular figure in fashion when he provided masculine clothes with a unique twist that made them feminine and beautiful for women. In 1966 he introduced “power suits” for women, which made him the first designer to offer power dressing to women and he is also the designer that has been credited with creating smoking jackets for men.

These are just some of the most exceptional fashion designers of all time but are by no means the only ones. Other celebrated designers include Louis Vuitton, Jacques Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Pierre Cardin, Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin… the list goes on.

However, what is clear is that each and every one of these designers has added their own unique twist to both men’s and women’s fashion. Creating distinguished looks, these designers are still some of the most famous and favored fashion labels of today.

George Atkins adores fashion. He works as a personal shopper, basically his dream job, and writes about fashion in his articles which appear online.

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