The history of fashion all began from the moment that humans started to wear clothes. People have used clothes to represent themselves and their identity for thousands of years – however, many people have made their mark on fashion trends and changed the way societies have worn and designed clothes. These fashion icons have truly made their mark on fashion and clothing, and changed the way people wear and feel about their wardrobe. Here are 6 women throughout history that have majorly influenced popular fashion and culture.
Coco Chanel revolutionised fashion throughout the 20th century – she is credited as inventing the concept of the little black dress. She is also most famous for saying ‘before you leave the house, take two accessories off.’ At a time when women’s fashion was incredibly feminine, Coco Chanel took inspiration from menswear to completely reinvent how women’s fashion worked. She popularised women’s trousers, costume jewellery, and even experimented with fabrics that had never been used before. She changed women’s fashion from being designed with corseted, fitted lines. And allowed women to find more freedom in their wardrobes.
Queen Elizabeth I:
Queen Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII, and is one of the most infamous royals in England’s history. She is consider one of the greatest royals ever, but something that is less discuss about her is that she was a style icon. Her taste set the fashion trends in England for over half a century – she wore luxurious gowns and lots of jewellery, and many of her courtiers tried to emulate her style, in order to catch her eye. She was also one of the earliest pioneers of sustainable fashion. She passed her dresses down to her ladies-in-waiting, recycling them.
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In the 60s, fashion exploded and became a major focus point in the everyday person’s life. Before then, fashion and trends were confine to one area, and were usually across many different age groups. However, in the 60s the birth of teen culture and fashion trends was a huge cultural shift, and Twiggy was at the centre of it all. Widely considered the first supermodel ever, her mini-skirts, iconic eye makeup and short hair defined trends around the world. She was a pioneer of androgynous women’s fashion, and is still one of the most celebrated British cultural icons today.
Brigitte Bardot practically invented the style of ‘French girl chic.’ Alongside Twiggy, she was an important influence on fashion throughout the 1960s. Her signature messy hair and hyper-feminine style that she wore in her films influenced a lot of fashion trends, and created the idea of ‘French chic.’ She is perhaps most famous for creating the iconic 60s ‘beehive’ hair style, and for making bikinis more socially acceptable. Modern fashion trends can still be traced back to Brigitte Bardot’s iconic look, and she definitely deserves her place on this list as one of the most influential women in fashion history.
Just like Bardot, Josephine Baker is one of the most influential French women in fashion history. She was one of the earliest pioneers of film. Becoming the first black woman to star in a major motion picture. A civil rights activist and a member of the French Resistance. She was a trailblazer during the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance. Her iconic film costumes and everyday flapper style became something to emulate for many women throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Up until her death in 1975, she had a long life of influencing both politics and fashion. And is one of the most dynamic figures throughout all of history.
Madame de Pompadour:
Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, otherwise known as the Marquise or Madame de Pompadour is one of the most influential fashion icons throughout history. She was the most influential chief mistress of King Louis XV from 1745 to 1751. And remained a great influence on the King and the Court until her death. She is most famous for influencing diamond shapes – the King commissioned the royal jeweller to create a diamond shape that emulated the shape of her lips. This was called the Marquise diamond and is one of the most common diamond shapes in antique engagement rings. Furthermore, the style of her dresses and hair would influence the rest of the French court and create multiple fashion trends.
These icons influenced fashion because they were bold, fearless and creative – they are definitely worth being your style icon!