The Most Iconic Fashion Designers of All Time

The fashion industry has had dozens of fashion designers that have popped up in different parts of the world. However, only a few of these designers remain popular because they either followed the trend or created them constantly. Here is a list of the most iconic fashion designers of all time.

Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada is an Italian fashion designer known for being the head designer of Prada and the founder of the brand’s subsidiary, Miu Miu. Besides being a popular fashion designer, Miuccia Prada is also known for being one of the richest people in the world, as she has a net worth of over $6.62 billion.

While Prada was founded in 1913, it was only after Miuccia Prada took over as the owner in 1978 that the brand rose to prominence in the fashion world. Because of how successful Prada was from the late 1970s, the brand was able to acquire other fashion labels such as Helmut Lang, Jil Sander, and Church & Co.

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer who founded a fashion label named after him in 1992. After the success of his own fashion label, he became the chief designer of the luxury brand Givenchy in 1996, and his tenure in the said position lasted until 2001.

McQueen is considered by many to be one of the best British fashion designers in history, and he was able to win four British Designer of the Year awards in 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2003. Sadly, McQueen died by suicide in 2010, and this happened a few days after his mother’s death. Sarah Burton, McQueen’s longtime collaborator, took over as the creative director of the Alexander McQueen label.

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, known more by her nickname “Coco,” was a French fashion designer who founded the Chanel brand. The Chanel brand helped popularize the casual and sporty chic look for females after the World War I era, and these trends are still quite popular today.

Before Chanel revolutionized fashion for women, the popular fashion trend for women for many centuries was the “corseted silhouette,” wherein women would have to wear a tight and uncomfortable corset around their waist or stomach. Chanel introduced a simpler, less expensive, and more comfortable collection of clothes for women, which eventually took over as the primary fashion trend over corsets.

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer who formed his own fashion brand called Armani in 1975. Armani is regarded as one of the most successful fashion designers in Italy, and he is also known for popularizing red-carpet fashion, which is primarily focused on celebrities and fashion models wearing custom-made dresses, suits, or outfits on the red carpet.

In addition to revolutionizing the fashion industry, Giorgio Armani has also expanded his Armani label into sports, music, and even luxury hotels. In 2010, he opened the Armani Hotel inside Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building that is located in Dubai, UAE.

Christian Dior

In terms of recognizable brand names, Dior is arguably one of the brands that come into many people’s minds. Dior was founded by Christian Dior, a French fashion designer who was employed by different fashion labels during World War II in order to keep the industry alive. By the end of the Second World War, Dior was able to establish his own fashion label and launched his first collection for the label called the “New Look.”

Christian Dior passed away on October 24, 1957, at the age of 52. Even after many decades since Dior’s death, his fashion label is treated with care and is still one of the most iconic brands in the world.

Donatella Versace

Donatella Versace, also known simply as Donatella, is an Italian fashion designer and creative director of the luxury fashion brand called Versace. The brand was founded by Donatella’s brother, Gianni Versace, who sadly passed away in 1997. After Gianni’s death, Donatella inherited a portion of Versace and was tasked to become the brand’s creative director.

Even before Gianni’s passing in 1997, Donatella had already worked closely with his brother to collaborate with collections for the Versace brand. While Versace was already popular under Gianni’s helm, Donatella further increased that popularity by introducing the “supermodel” phenomenon in the 1990s, where Versace helped models have more spotlight in the fashion industry.

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein is an American fashion designer who founded the fashion label Calvin Klein Inc. with his childhood friend, Barry K. Schwartz, in 1968. By the 1980s, Calvin Klein’s label became popular for its designer underwear and denim collections that are ready-to-wear and are catered towards people who want high fashion at a relatively affordable price. 

The label later expanded into leather products, accessories, shoes, perfumes, eyewear, jewelry, and cosmetics. Today, Calvin Klein’s fashion label is famous for having celebrity endorsers like Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, and Jennie from the K-Pop group Blackpink.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren’s name has been in numerous products, from polo shirts to bags and fragrances. While many people recognize the name, there are only a few of them that actually know about the man that owns the name. Ralph Lauren is an American fashion designer who founded the Ralph Lauren Corporation in 1967. Today, the corporation is a multibillion-dollar enterprise that is popular in many countries around the world.

Ralph Lauren is popular for putting a spotlight on the polo shirt, a collared shirt that has the brand’s signature polo player emblem sewn onto it. In case you don’t know, polo is a type of team sport that is played on horseback, and before polo shirts became a staple of casual wear, it was the polo players that first wore the shirts during games. Ralph Lauren stepped down as the CEO of his own company in 2015, although he remains as the chief creative officer or CCO.

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent or YSL was a French fashion designer who founded a fashion label named after him in 1962. Yves Saint Laurent is regarded by many people in the fashion industry as one of the most influential designers in the world, and even after his death in 2008, his label still remained relevant and successful.

Yves Saint Laurent is known for being able to adapt to the many trends that have emerged throughout the years. His most popular design is the “Le Smoking” tuxedo suit, which is specifically designed for women to feel comfortable while still looking elegant.

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger is another American fashion designer who named the company that he founded after him, which is the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation. Before creating one of the most recognizable fashion brands in the world, Hilfiger first co-founded a chain of fashion stores called People’s Place in New York during the 1970s. Then, in the 1980s, he started designing clothes for his own menswear line, which would eventually expand into women’s clothing, perfumes, and other luxury items by the 1990s.

Tommy Hilfiger’s brand was popular for its influence in music subcultures, most notably in R&B music, and many notable R&B artists would often wear Tommy Hilfiger products in music videos or live performances. Hilfiger would sell his company in 2006 for $1.6 billion to Apax Partners, a business that would later sell the brand in 2010 to Phillips-Van Heusen for $3 billion. Despite selling the company, Tommy Hilfiger remains its principal designer.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabba are a duo of Italian fashion designers who are known for being the founder of the Dolce & Gabbana luxury fashion brand. Dolce & Gabbana was founded in 1985 and specializes in ready-to-wear clothing that is relatively more affordable than what is offered by other luxury brands. In addition to ready-to-wear clothing, Dolce & Gabbana also designs, produces, and sells handbags, cosmetics, and accessories.

Domenico Dolce met Stefano Gabbana in 1980 through Dolce’s employer, renowned fashion designer Giorgio Correggiari. Then, Dolce and Gabbana left Correggiari’s fashion house in 1983 in order to open their own fashion house. Years later, Dolce & Gabbana was massively successful, and the two founders are regarded as two of the most influential designers in the fashion industry.

Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld was a German fashion designer who came into prominence when he became the creative director of Chanel in 1983, and he would hold the position until his death on February 19, 2019. Before working for Chanel, Lagerfeld first worked as the creative director of the fur and leather goods company called Fendi in 1965. Much like his position in Chanel, Lagerfeld continued working for Fendi until 2019.

Aside from working for Chanel and Fendi, Lagerfeld also founded his eponymous fashion house in 1984. Lagerfeld is easily recognizable due to his white hair, black sunglasses, and fingerless black gloves.

The fashion industry is filled with many fashion designers, but the twelve that we mentioned above have created designs and trends that truly stood the test of time. These fashion designers continue to inspire many people for many more years because of their impact, influence, and contribution to the industry.