Throughout history, women have ruled the fashion industry. From iconic designers such as Donatella Versace to legendary actresses such as Audrey Hepburn, here are the top five women who have tremendously influenced the fashion industry throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Jackie Kennedy was one of the most influential fashion icons of her era. Some of the most recognizable trends of the ’60s and ’70s, including pillbox hats, tailored coats, and strapless gowns, all became popularized due to her status in high society as the First Lady. An entire generation of women strove to dress like her, and many fashion designers were influenced by her looks.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Carolina Herrera made a name for herself as a prestigious fashion designer in the 1980s, with some of her most famous pieces quickly finding their way into the mainstream fashion world. Additionally, she was one of the first fashion designers to introduce pieces with padded shoulders, believing that “broader shoulders made a woman’s waist appear smaller.”
Before his death, Gianni Versace relied heavily on Donatella’s advice about his designs, and she played a crucial role in planning many of the Versace fashion shows and advertising campaigns. After her brother’s death in 1997, Donatella took over the company and preserved the popularity of the brand to continue her brother’s legacy. She sought to make Versace look her own and in doing so, “gained the fashion house critical acclaim and a reputation for sophistication.”
Audrey Hepburn was known for her elegance and poise, with her signature style being most popular from the 1950-60s. Each piece that she wore embodies “a sense of grace, elegance, and refinement,” which still resonates with many young women and girls today. One of her most famous looks was the Little Black Dress worn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” created by famous fashion designer Coco Chanel. After Hepburn was seen wearing it, it became extremely popular, with every woman considering it a “must-have” for their wardrobe.
Known as the “Princess Of The People,” Princess Diana was extremely popular and was constantly photographed not only during her marriage to Price Charles, but even more so after their separation, proving her iconic status as an individual. Many of Diana’s looks became popular and trendy, and it seemed like everyone everywhere was trying to wear what she was wearing. From color-blocking, gold buttons, contrasting lapels, polar-necked sweaters, and high waisted, slightly cropped jeans with flat pumps, everyone was obsessed with what the princess was wearing and wanted nothing more than to emulate her style.