The content in this blog comes from online Fashion Encyclopedia (http://www.fashionencyclopedia.com) and photos from google images.
Jeanne Paquin (1869-1936) was the first woman to gain international celebrity in the fashion business. Her design career spanned the three decades from 1891 to 1920. she was a Beautiful, chic, intelligent, and charismatic, Paquin was herself the best publicist for her own style She was born on the outskirts of Paris. As a young girl she was employed at a local dressmaker’s shop and then became a seamstress at the distinguished Parisian firm of Maison Rouff. In February 1891 she married Isidore Rene Jacob dit Paquin, a former banker and businessman.
The couple together worked toward a new business model to enter the fashion industry. With Madame as head designer and her husband as business administrator. The couple built a couture business whose worldwide scope and stylistic influences were unparalleled during the early years of the twentieth century. There pioneering approaches for marketing and alluring designs attracted the fashionable women of the world who were poised for a new fashion image at the end of the Victorian era. The diverse and esteemed client list included famous actresses and courtesans, European royals, and the wives of American business tycoons such as Rockefeller, Astor, Vanderbilt, Ballantine, and Wannamaker. In 1907 Isidore Paquin died suddenly, leaving Jeanne Paquin to head their fashion empire alone. Her half brother, Henri Joire, and his wife, Suzanne, joined her as partners in 1911.
Madame Valentina was as exotic as her name. A Russian emigrée, she attracted attention in New York after her arrival in 1923 by looking like a woman at a time when women were trying to look like young boys. For dining in fashionable restaurants or attending the theatre with her theatre-producer husband George Schlee, Valentina wore her own designs—full-length, high necked, long sleeved gowns with natural waistlines, made of flowing black velvet—in contrast to the short, waistless, beaded flapper fashions that prevailed at the time. Instead of bobbed hair, Valentina emphasized high cheekbones and large soulful eyes by wearing her long blonde hair in a high chignon. Slavic reserve, thick Russian accent, expressive hands, and movement with a dancer’s grace completed her personality. She was her own best model and maintained a consistency of appearance throughout her long career.
Claire McCardell was the founder of American ready-to-wear fashion, and in doing so defined what has become known as the American Look. She created casual but sophisticated clothes with a functional design, which reflected the lifestyles of American women. McCardell’s design philosophy was that clothes should be practical, comfortable, and feminine. Capitalizing on the World War II restrictions on the availability of French fashions and fabrics, McCardell designed simple, inexpensive clothes under the label Townley Frocks by Claire McCardell and later Claire McCardell Clothes by Townley.
Warsaw-born Barbara Hulanicki first burst onto the fashion scene as a 19 year old Brighton Art College student in 1955, winning a beachwear competition sponsored by the London Evening Standard. After working as a freelance fashion illustrator for magazines including Vogue, Tatler, and Women’s Wear Daily, Hulanicki opened, with her late husband Stephen Fitz-Simon, Biba in 1964. Thanks to, ‘a rock ‘n roll friendly mix of mini skirts, feather boas, velvet tuis, tie-dye tees, and floppy felt hats’, regulars at the uber-fabulous & famous Kensington shop soon grew to include Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger… as well as Anna Wintour, whose father secured his young fashionista-in-training a job there at age 15. Biba closed it’s doors in 1976 and Hulanicki went to work for Fiorucci and Cacharel. From 1980 to 1992 she designed a line of children’s wear called Minirock.
By 1964, Rykiel had been nicknamed “The Queen of Knitwear” in the U.S., where an ardent following developed for her knits, which were sold in trendsetting stores like Henri Bendel and Bloomingdale’s in New York. For women who were rich and thin enough to wear them, these skinny sweaters, with their high armholes, imparted instant chic. Part of their appeal was in their distinctive colors and striped patterns. Black, navy, gray, and beige are still standards, but there was also a unique Rykiel palette of muted tones—stripes of grayed seafoam green and grayed teal. Although she herself does not wear red (she wears black, considering it a uniform), Rykiel still uses it consistently, with the shade changing from season to season.
Rykiel continues to design a complete range of clothes and accessories for women in the 1990s, drawn from her experiences and her fantasies, which she encourages women to appropriate and adapt whilst inventing and reinventing themselves. In addition to knits and jerseys, she uses crêpe for soft clothes, and woven tweeds and plaids for a more structured day look. Evening fantasies are best expressed in lightweight black luxury fabrics, often combined with sequins, metallic thread, embroidery, or elaborate combinations incorporating velvet.
Vera Wang was exposed to fashion early in her life through her mother’s style and her affluent upbringing on Manhattan’s East Side. After graduation from college in 1971, Wang began working for Voguemagazine. At the end of her first year, she was promoted to fashion editor, the youngest in Vogue‘s history. In a nostalgic piece written for the magazine in March 2001, editors said of Wang, “As a young fashion editor, she used the perfection she learned as a skater to produce shoots with an ice-cool edge.” Despite a few fashion-shoot snafus, Wang held the position for the next 16 years.
After her stint at Vogue,Wang worked as a design director at Ralph Lauren; her responsibility included overseeing 13 accessory lines. Throughout her career, she wanted to be a fashion designer and this desire started to grow while she was shopping for a wedding gown for her upcoming nuptials to Arthur Becker in 1989. Frustrated with the gowns she saw, she designed her own and hired a dressmaker to create it at a cost of $10,000. Discovering a market niche for contemporary and elegant wedding gowns, in 1990 Wang opened her own bridal boutique with financial backing from her father in the upscale Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue in New York. She carried elegant bridal wear by well-known designers, but also to design wedding gowns herself.
Donna Karan can be considered the designer who has made it fashionable to be voluptuous. She has based her corporate philosophy on clothes designed to hug a woman but also hide bodily imperfections. “You’ve gotta accent your positive, delete your negative,” she declared in a press release, emphasizing the fact that if you’re pulled together underneath, you can build on top of that. Karan firmly relates designing to herself and her role as a woman. She sees design as a personal expression of the many roles she has had to balance, being a wife, mother, friend, and businessperson. She believes her sex has given her greater insight into solving problems women have with fashion, fulfilling their needs, simplifying dress to make life easier and to add comfort, luxury, and durability.
Shortly after the launch of the diffusion line, Anne Klein II, in 1982, Karan felt ready to go it alone. Together with her husband, Stephen Weiss, she launched the first Donna Karan collection in 1985 and since then the company has grown at a dizzying pace. Karan is inspired by New York; she believes its energy, pace, and vibrance attracts the most sophisticated and artistic people in the world, the type of people and lifestyle for whom she has always designed. Her principle is that clothes should be interchangeable and flexible enough to go from day to evening, summer to winter. Fashion should be a multicultural language, easy, sensuous, and functional, a modern security blanket. Perhaps this explains why her fundamental trademark items, the bodysuits, unitards, black cashmere and stretch fabrics and sensuous bodywrap styles owe great allegiance to the innate style and taste of the artist.