Fashion & Style

Famous fashion designers

By George Garza
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Women's fashion has been shaped over the years by famous designers
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Here are some of the 20th century's famous fashion designers

Famous artists always made their subjects appear grander, more universal, more important than life. Today, fashion designers are like artists, turning women's clothing into art. Here are some famous fashion designers of the 20th century.

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's is a true rags-to-riches story. Born in 1883, Chanel spent her early childhood in a French orphanage where she learned how to sew. She left school in 1901 to work with a Parisian tailor. During this time she began designing hats, which attracted the attention of the elite. In 1910 she opened her own business.

After the World War I, Chanel made her mark on the fashion world by using common, everyday fabrics and simple designs to create an elegant and understated style.

In 1926, she introduced the little black dress, a simple design that proved versatile and long-lasting.

Other famous creations include the Chanel handbag and Chanel No. 5, a perfume that still enjoys popularity today. Chanel is also famous for introducing pants to women's fashion.



Miuccia Prada's resume ranged from a Ph.D. in political science to work as a mime. In 1978, Prada inherited a leather goods company started by her grandfather Mario more than 60 years before.

When Prada took control of the company her designer prowess became apparent. She designed the first Prada handbag in black, which is still synonymous with the Prada name.

In the 1980s and '90s, Prada introduced a new line of clothing that accentuated clean lines and elegant fabrics. Prada also experimented with more exotic materials, incorporating latex and pieces of mirror in her designs.


Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent's 35-year career as a fashion designer is widely considered one of the greatest. His is renowned for his updated 1920s line, which was his first as a fashion designer.

Saint Laurent pioneered the concept of ready-to-wear fashion. In 1966, he introduced the power suit for women and the smoking jacket for men. Similar to Coco Chanel, Saint Laurent redesiged traditionally male wardrobe staples into beautiful clothing for women.



Gianni Versace, trained as an architect, embarked on a fashion design career at 25.

In 1978, Versace opened his first boutique in Milan, Italy. His family-run fashion brand became world famous. His creations appeared in "Miami Vice" and "Showgirls." Celebrities loved his designs, and in turn he used celebrities to showcase his work.

In 1997, Gianni Versace was shot to death in Miami Beach, Florida. Close family members took over the business.


Ralph Lauren

Ralph Laurent started out as a road salesman for a neckwear manufacturer. He launched Polo ties in 1967, followed by men's wear the next year and women's wear in 1971.

Ralph Lauren reached the pinnacle of his fame when he designed the men's clothing for "The Great Gatsby," the 1974 film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel that starred Robert Redford.

Ralph Lauren became the first designer to launch a complete home collection in 1983.


Calvin Klein

In 1968, Calvin Klein started designing coats. By 1969 he had landed on the cover of Vogue.

While touring the country, Calvin Klein realized women wanted to buy all their clothes from a single designer. He answered their need by designing a wardrobe of interrelated pieces, allowing women to dress for any occasion.

These are some of the most famous fashion designers of the 20th century. They proved that clothes can be considered art; what you wear makes you stylish and contemporary.

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