Fashion Transformers : What and Who changed how we dress now in the last 140 years!!!

Linda Evangelista by Steven Meisel
Candice Huffine by Steven Meisel
Kristen Stewart by Steven Meisel

The Fashion Transformers : A Fashion History Lesson!

Fashion transformers, important fashion moments and people that transformed forever the way we think and dress! These are historic events that changed how we dress! Important moments, inspired people and historic fashion events!!!  The world’s seen a fair few over the past 150 years, from the first ever outing of the Little Black Dress to the birth of the supermodel. Here is a guide to the most important events in recent fashion history combined with 2011-2012 fashion trends…

1871 Jacob Davis and  Levi Strauss
The invention of jeans

fashion transformers, Levi Strauss portrait ,  the inventor of jeans
Levi Strauss portrait ,  the inventor of jeans!!!

Who’d have thought that a pair of hard-wearing workman’s trousers, developed by the tailor Jacob Davis and his business partner Levi Strauss for American labourers in the 1870s, would evolve into such a style phenomenon? Today 450 million pairs are sold each year in America alone. By 2015 the global jeans market is set to be worth more than £39 billion.

Rachel Zoe denim from the Resort Collection 2012

The invention of the  trench coat

Burberry’s original designs, trench-coat submitted to the War Office in 1901

Today a belted trench is the chicest way to negotiate that treacherous fashion territory between seasons, but the garment was originally used by the British Army as a heavy raincoat for soldiers. One of the earliest designs was Burberry’s, submitted to the War Office in 1901. Variations on the theme have been worn ever since, and Burberry is now one of the world’s biggest luxury brands, with an annual turnover of £1.5 billion.

Burberry 2012 trench coat!

The end of corseting

The end of corseting by Broadway actress Violet Romer

The Broadway actress Violet Romer is credited with wearing the first ‘flapper’ dress, a loose shift cut above the knee. A world away from the corseted silhouette and long skirts of the Edwardians, it was greeted with outrage but eventually came to define the look of the 1920s. I love stretch dresses by designers like  Alaia and Herve Leger!!!

Poppy Delevigne stretch dress street style

The first Little Black Dress LBD

Coco chanel invented the little black dress!
1920’s clothing .. dressing before Coco Chanel

Clever Coco Chanel. Understanding that what every woman’s wardrobe needed was a classic working staple, she created what would later become known as the little black dress, or LBD. The sleek black number with pleats was featured in American Vogue, whose editors described it as ‘Chanel’s Ford’ – a reference to the universal appeal of Henry Ford’s Model T car design – and predicted that the LBD would become ‘uniform for all women of taste’.

I love this Little Black Dress

The New Look

1947 The New Look, Christian Dior feminine and luxurious

‘It’s quite a revelation, dear Christian,’ pronounced Carmel Snow, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar. ‘Your dresses have such a new look.’ After the hard war years Dior anticipated an appetite among women for a wardrobe more luxurious and feminine.The French couturier’s ‘flower women’ with their tiny waists and voluminous skirts defined an idealised image of womanhood for the decade to come. So elegant!!!

Dior dress by Richard Avedon

The rise of the miniskirt

1965 The rise of the miniskirt Many Quant

Many lay claim to the miniskirt. There is some argument whether the French futurist designer André Courrèges or Mary Quant was responsible. Quant introduced the design to her London boutique Bazaar in 1965. It was a hit with Mary’s trendsetting young clientele and then the rest of the world…

2011 styling job by Jillian Davison for Harper’s Bazaar Australia September 2011, model Jemma Baines

Yves Saint Laurent creates ready-to-wear

1966 Yves Saint Laurent creates ready-to-wear High fashion

High fashion, formerly the preserve of wealthy couture clients, was opened up to Everywoman in 1966 when Yves Saint Laurent made the daring move of launching Rive Gauche, one of the first ready-to-wear labels in Paris. Along with Le Smoking, the women’s trouser suit unveiled by YSL that same year, it was one of many firsts chalked up by the designer over the decades.

YSL Spring – Summer 2012

Sex opens on King’s Road

1974 Sex, the King’s Road boutique opened by Vivienne Westwood

Sex, the King’s Road boutique opened by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, was at the forefront of the punk-rock movement. Frequented by the Sex Pistols, Chrissie Hynde and Adam Ant among others, it championed a new brand of anarchic street style of ripped jeans, safety pins, studded collars and DIY fashion.

Balmain 2012 rock chic

The first logo T-Shirt

1983 The first logo T-Shirt by London designer Katharine Hamnett

T-shirts got political in the 1980s when the London designer Katharine Hamnett sent them down the catwalk emblazoned with the slogan choose life. In 1984 she kept up the polemic by wearing a T-shirt bearing the words 58% don’t want pershing to meet Margaret Thatcher. Since then slogan T-shirts have become less a call to protest and more a means of personal expression. We’re not sure Britney Spears’ i’m a virgin (but this is an old t-shirt) was quite what Hamnett had in mind.

Usher wearing a Michael Jackson t-shirt!

The working-girl wardrobe is invented

1984 The working-girl fist shop by Donna Karan in New York

When Donna Karan launched her eponymous label in New York in 1984 it was with simple interchangeable, day-to-evening, sleek jersey pieces in black and neutral shades. In doing so she recognised the changing needs of a generation of women who were serious about both careers and style.

DKNY Spring Summer 2012

Birth of the supermodel

British Vogue’s cover : Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford, photographer Peter Lindbergh

British Vogue’s cover featuring Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford, shot by the photographer Peter Lindbergh, defined a new kind of model – the supermodel. Evangelista’s quote, ‘We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day’, was their maxim and the women became known by their first names alone.

Gisele Bundchen one of my favorite sexy top models

Madonna’s conical bra

1990 Madonna’s conical bra by Gaultier

It wasn’t just the saucy songs. Madonna’s now-legendary Blond Ambition world tour also set the pace in fashion terms thanks to provocative costumes by the designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Hip and edgy, the outfits played on gender stereotypes – viz the conical bras worn over men’s suits – expressing a new unabashed sense of female sexual empowerment and challenging acceptable notions of female dressing thereafter.

Lady Gaga in a total black and white outfit !

Vogue’s first celebrity cover

1991 Vogue’s first celebrity cover Kim Basinger photographed by Herb Ritts

When Anna Wintour put the first non-model on the cover of American Vogue – Kim Basinger photographed by Herb Ritts – the publishing industry soon saw that she was on to something. Celebrity covers, it discovered, sold more magazines. Actresses and pop stars became increasingly linked with the fashion industry. Today, it seems, anyone worthy of celebrity must front a fashion campaign or, better still, launch their own label.

Modern royalty, Charlotte Casiraghi, looks fierce on the cover of Vogue Paris September 2011

Marc Jacobs’ grunge collection

1992 Marc Jacobs’ grunge collection

So Marc Jacobs’ luxurious take on Seattle style for the American label Perry Ellis was slated in many quarters, but it also got the young designer noticed. He hasn’t looked back. He’s now the creative director of Louis Vuitton, as well as his own label and the Marc by Marc diffusion line, and his influence is all-pervasive. What Marc imagines, the world wears.

The next generation grunge by Isabel Marant

Calvin Klein and the ‘birth’ of Kate Moss

1993 Calvin Klein ad with young Kate Moss

Kate Moss’s career really kicked off when she was cast to front Calvin Klein underwear, heralding the rise of a new-look girl – the waif. Many claimed that it glamorised drug use. As we all know, Moss survived the controversy – and more along the way – to become the most famous model in the world.

Kate Moss on the runway for Louis Vuitton 2011

The rise of the super brand

Tom Ford creative director at Gucci in 1994

When Tom Ford, a little-known American designer, became creative director at Gucci in 1994, he hounded the French stylist Carine Roitfeld and the photographer Mario Testino to work with him. Eventually they came together and revamped the ailing brand with a sexy 1970s-inspired collection, and memorable ad campaigns, turning it into the label of the decade. Between 1995 and 1996 sales jumped 90 per cent.

Gucci Spring Summer 2012

Brits take over Paris fashion

1995 John Galliano designer of Givenchy

This was the year that John Galliano was appointed designer at the venerable French house of Givenchy, confirming that British design was now to be taken seriously. He moved on to Dior, seemingly starting a trend in Paris to employ creative talent from these shores. Alexander McQueen took over at Givenchy, Stella McCartney went to Chloé and Phoebe Philo followed.

The start of the It-bag phenomenon … strategic celebrity product placement !!!

1997 The “it” Fendi Baguette bag

The Italian fashion house Fendi kick-started a trend that would transform the luxury-goods market – entirely by accident. Its Baguette bag became the must-have accessory when fashion editors pitched up at the European shows with them tucked under their arms, having bought them cheap in a New York sample sale. Suddenly other companies began launching ‘it’ designs with catchy names, strategic celebrity product placement – and ever-rising prices.

Proenza Schouler “it” orange bag

Jimmy Who? – the start of shoe mania

2000 Sex and the City’s stars

‘I’ve lost my Choo!’ exclaimed Sex and the City’s heroine Carrie Bradshaw back in 2000, thus catapulting Jimmy Choo – then a fledging luxury shoe brand – on to a global stage. The character similarly raised the profile of Manolo Blahnik with her numerous name-checks over the series. Today’s booming luxury shoe market owes much to that one show, and obsession with designer footwear has seen heel heights push up to 6in – and average prices more than triple.

Marc Jacobs heart heel shoe!

Not second-hand but vintage

Julia Roberts in 2001 Academy Awards wearing a vintage Valentino

When Julia Roberts and Renée Zellweger turned up at the 2001 Academy Awards in old Valentino and Jean Dessès gowns, the world sat up. It was a pivotal moment in driving vintage fashion into the mainstream.

The Olsen twins Mary Kate and Ashley are into vintage clothes and handbags in 2011

Karl Lagerfeld for H&M, the first high-street collaboration

2004 Karl Lagerfeld for H&M

Karl Lagerfeld’s capsule collection for H & M caused a frenzy when it launched, selling out immediately and generating acres of coverage for both parties. Its success proved to designers that when done properly – ie in small volumes and at premium high-street prices – mass-market collaborations could actually benefit their brand.

Versace for H and M 2011 – 2012

Trendsurvivor How to.. get affordable authentic Versace clothes!!!

Throwaway fashion arrives

2005 Throwaway fashion with Primark stores!

Halfway through the decade Primark increased its number of stores by a third, bringing quick on-trend fashion at bargain prices to virtually every big town and city in Britain. By 2007 its popularity was such that there was a mini riot at the launch of its flagship on Oxford Street, London.

Primark Look-book 2011-2012

Woman spends $100,000 at Net-a-Porter

Ex-fashion journalist Natalie Massenet and creator of Net-a-Porte

Anyone who doubted that women would ever buy designer fashion online without first trying on pieces were firmly put in their place when, in 2008, one customer blew $100,000 in a single transaction on Net-a-Porter. The brainchild of the ex-fashion journalist Natalie Massenet, the e-tailer has become a global success since its launch 11 years ago. In 2010 the company was valued at £350 million.

2011 : Net a Porte analyzing and setting trends!

Fashion’s new frontier

2009 Burberry live-streamed its spring/summer 2010 catwalk show to the internet

Burberry live-streamed its spring/summer 2010 catwalk show to the internet and a world that had been the preserve of fashion editors and buyers was opened to a whole new audience. This year the brand introduced a click-to-buy function, enabling customers to purchase direct from the catwalk show. Now everyone can be a fashion insider.

McQueen lives on – and so does British fashion

2011 McQueen Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’, celebrating the work of the late British designer, became one of the 10 most popular shows in the New York museum’s 141-year history. Its massive success has been testament to not only McQueen’s legacy but also the wider renaissance in British fashion. Long may it continue!



Louis Vuitton in The National Museum of  China

Louis Vuitton exhibition in the National Museum of China

I would add for 2011 the Louis Vuitton Exhibition in China!!!

Memorable marketing strategies and innovative designs changed the way we view the world of fashion today… What is next? Who knows? Any wild guesses??

 Have a lovely Day!!!



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