Donna Karan (+ DKNY)
From her early years, New York City born, Donna Karan strived to become a fashion designer. After she graduated from High School, she applied to Parson School of Design, which turned out to be an excellent choice since she was able to graduate from this prestigious school and succeed. Before founding her own fashion label, Donna Karan worked closely and triumphantly under the wings of Anne Klein in 1985, for nearly two decades. Spending time as Klein’s assistant she quickly flourished from that position to associate designer in just a number of years, working on countless fashions shows such as the infamous Battle of Versailles Show in 1973. Throughout the all time at this fashion house, Donna Karan gained knowledge on how to run a business. However, it was only after Anne Klein’s death in 1984 that Donna Karan and her husband Stephan Weiss decided to start their own company and never looked back since! Donna Karan and Donna Karan New York are staple labels in the fashion world, creating contemporary and fashionable clothes for the modern woman, while following through the philosophy of the brand and what Karan vowed to: ‘only designing clothes she would wear herself’.
Diane Von Furstenberg
Diane Von Furstenberg: the princess who built another type of empire, an outstanding fashion house. The former royal began her business to avoid being a woman who had to rely on her regal husband, for everything she wanted to have in life. As she always says: “I always knew the type of woman I wanted to be!” Her first sketches and designs were well-received and legendary Diane Vreeland, Vogue editor, proclaimed her adoration the moment she saw them, immediately enlisting Diane Von Furstenberg into Fashion Week. From there, the business took off. Soon after, Furstenberg got divorced and devoted herself and her focus into her company, DVF. She created one of the most iconic designs of the decade, the Knitted jersey Wrap dress. A piece that became so influential that it now holds a place in the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art. The fashion world boosted Furstenberg’s popularity so much that she was even featured on the cover of Newsweek Magazine in 1976 and was made comparable to Coco Chanel. Her tactical eye for fashion and design continues up to this day.
Dolce & Gabbana
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, a duo recognised everywhere with a brand that dominates the fashion world. They met in Milan back in 1980 and worked together in the same fashion house, Domenico & Stefano quickly grew close and became synchronised with their work. By 1982 they had developed their own designer consulting studio, and in 1985 the label Dolce & Gabbana became official when they unveiled their first collection. One year later, they opened their very first shop in Milan. While their women’s collection grew and gained popularity quickly, Domenico & Stefano looked to expand and did it fast, releasing a leotard line in 1988 and later on in 1989, an underwear and swimwear line. Then expansions began in other forms, as they developed their market across many different countries all over the world, with Japan and the USA being a few of the firsts. Yet, despite all of this, profits never really skyrocketed until they released a women’s fragrance in 1992. Dolce & Gabbana became very successful and it is undoubtedly one of their greatest, and many, namesakes.
Dries Van Noten
Designer to royalty and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dries Van Noten has a market of adoring customers of an incredibly wide span, and it comes as no surprise. Noted and admired for his eccentric and varying design patterns, even described as one of fashions most cerebral designers, Van Noten can be praised for not only his eye-catching label and pieces, but also his early 2000’s comeback that brought his name back on track in fashion. Beginning his popular label in 1986, Van Noten’s designs quickly became known as ready to wear retail couture, making the name popular among many markets as affordable fashion. While his label fell from the mainstream radar in the 1990’s, it was dressing Cate Blanchett for the Academy Awards in the early 2000’s that shot him back to the top so much that he has been dressing Blanchett for the awards ever since.
Georgian born and London based David Koma has a clientele of many different celebrities wearing his work every week. Starting his love of design at a young age, he was only 15 when he showcased his first collection. This came not long after he studied Fine Art in Saint Petersburg, a key element of his life and talent when it comes to design. Incredibly enough, ever since he started, Koma has continued to work on his collections constantly. For his graduate collection, he created a line of metal tube embellished, chain sculptured dresses and because of it he won the Harrods Design Award. He has been accumulating many others ever since. Koma is now working at the House of Thierry Mugler as the artistic director, while simultaneously keeping his brand David Koma running.
The late Jesus Del Pozo left a permanent mark on the fashion world, in not only the successful and stunning label that he created and left behind, but also in the countless awards that helped to make his business the line that is it today. A lover of bold and bright colours used in couture manners, Del Pozo opened his first men’s clothing store back in 1974, releasing a collection in Paris only 2 years later. From 1980 onwards he began to focus more on his women’s collections, and developed a staple line that featured in shows across the world, including Paris itself and Japan. It wasn’t until 1990 that Del Pozo ventured out into the market of fragrance, creating a lengthy line of perfumes that were more adored and received than the last. Although a couture designer in many ways, Del Pozo also designed the uniforms of the Spanish pavilion for the Seville Universal Exposition in 1992, as well as costumes for many theatre and ballet productions.
Created through tactical marketing and of a 40% buy out, Diesel began its paths on the fashion ladder through alternative means compared to others. Founder Renzo Rosso worked for the clothing company Moltex in 1978, by borrowing money from his family he used it to buy a large stake of holding in the company and quickly took advantage of it because it systematically gave him more power. He changed the brand name to Diesel and created a new line of jeans for the market to solely focus on, allowing their staple quality and impeccable designs to create a stunningly fast profit. Only a few years later Rosso bought out the other stakes of the company from previous owners and became the sole leader of the company, turning a hundred thousand dollar business into a multi-billion dollar phenomenon, leading the world towards a path of denim.
The outrageous twins who began their professional careers after dropping out of the Parsons School of Design and now throwing fashion shows with Christina Aguilera and Rihanna, can only be the duo that is Dean and Dan Caten. The youngest of nine children, the Caten’s were adjusted to a hectic life schedule when they began their careers in fashion, as they should be. After leaving university, the boys sought to find financial aid and release their first collection in 1986, under the brand name DEanDAN. Signing under a label in 1988, creative directors wanted the boys to take a more couture and haute look to the label, while both the Caten’s were designing lower end, leisurewear. They continued with this up to the 1990’s, when they moved to Milan to work with fashion houses Diesel and Gianni Versace, in order to help fund their personal label. In 1994 they debuted a mens collection, followed by a womens collection and nearly a decade later an underwear line, each one incredibly well received up to this day. Nowadays being very involved with mainstream media in their work, the Caten’s are heavily drawned into pop culture of the moment, teaming up with countless celebrities and featuring on America’s Next Top Model during their spare time.
Written by Frankie Lunt
Editted by Anne-Isabelle Saint-Pierre
Photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.co.uk, theimpression.com, glamour.com, nowfashion.com, getty images