Son of Russian working class immigrants, Ralph Lauren has transformed himself into the sophisticated billionaire. His classic and preppy designs all draw upon an image of old world wealth and luxury, and he pioneered the concept of clothes as part of a lifestyle environment. Lauren worked in retail before developing a line of neckties. The brand he established, Polo, is now one part of an empire that includes fragrances, home furnishings and luxury clothing. Today, his five billion dollar business includes several clothing lines as well as perfumes, house ware, furniture and paint.
Born in Rome in 1890 to an aristocratic mother and an intellectual father, Schiaparelli soon rebelled against the conventional life of the upper classes. Her desire for exploration and experimentation landed her in hot water as a teen, when she published a book of poems with decidedly sensual overtones. Her work deeply offended her parents, who punished her by placing her in a convent. Schiaparelli was so determined to escape from the nunnery that she initiated a hunger strike which resulted in her release. By her early twenties she had fled to London, where she could live under less scrutiny. Later, during a foray in New York, she joined with artist friends and they all made their way to Paris…
One of the world’s most successful fashion designers, Diane von Fürstenberg impressed the fashion world when she introduced her now-iconic “wrap dress” for the working woman in 1972. Elegance, ease, and accessibility have always been the core of her design philosophy, which has allowed her to turn DVF into a global luxury lifestyle brand. In 2005, she became the recipient of the CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
"Last year was all about the midi dress, but for A/W 19, it's all about the minidress," says Laura Larbalestier, Group Fashion Buying Director at Harvey Nichols. "We have exciting new launches at Harvey Nichols from Retrofete, Rotate and Giuseppe di Morabito, which all involve impactful looks with mini hemlines." Newbie labels are clearly backing shorter hemlines, but the trend also has the strong support coming in from the industry's sassiest established fashion houses, such as Saint Laurent: Anthony Vaccarello's vision for the French brand was nothing if not a total lesson in getting your legs out.
“We love the body of a woman. Coco Chanel was wrong when she said that men were unable to design for women. Women know too much about women and they transpose their needs onto women’s clothes” The idea of women power and women shapes is as good to Dolce and Gabbana as it is for us. In 1985, their first collection was shown in Milan and built their themes on screen sirens, Sicilian widows and a rosary of Catholic kitsch. Dolce and Gabbana are arguably the most powerful and influential designers of our time.
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.
Famous brands and designers from France include Chanel, Louis Vuitton, L'Oreal, Christian Louboutin, Balmain, Lancôme, Givenchy, Le Coq Sportif, Cartier, Guerlain, Sonia Rykiel, Longchamp, Pierre Cardin, Kenzo, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Clarins, A.P.C., Jean Paul Gaultier, Lacoste, Hermès, Thierry Mugler, Lanvin, Inès de La Fressange, Quechua, Chloé, Lolita Lempicka, Nina Ricci, Rochas, Cerruti, Oxbow and Céline.
Preppy girls, often named simply ‘preps’, love to rock a college-inspired wardrobe. Their hangers are lined side to side with girly blouses with matching collared tees as well as a-line skirts and tights. Her hair is almost always amped up with a cute little headband and she usually wears glasses- whether she really needs to or not! This style may appear geeky and slightly luxurious, but the look itself is really not expensive and extravagant at all.