TOP PICKS: It’s a woman’s world

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Female fashion designers provide a fresh and much-needed perspective on fashion. Sushma Veera picks 10

1. Coco Chanel (1883-1971)
Gabrielle “Coco” Bonheur Chanel was a French fashion designer and the founder of the Chanel brand. Well-known for her trademark suits and little black dresses, Coco’s timeless designs are still popular today. Her desire for freedom and self-expression gave women style without sacrifice.

2. Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973)
The Italian fashion designer dominated the fashion world between the two World Wars. Her designs were defined by her extraordinary creativity — she was the first to create buttons that look like brooches and use brightly coloured zippers.

Schiaparelli was also responsible for creating the runway shows of today, she believed that a fashion show needed to contain elements of music and art to display the clothing without taking away the design.

3. Rei Kawakubo
This famous Japanese designer is the founder of Comme des Garcons. The label is an avant-garde and anti-concept fashion line — always challenging the conventions. Her garments are primarily in black, dark grey and white, and are often worn with combat boots.

4. Vera Wang
A former figure skater, she is known for her couture bridal gowns. Her empire also includes a ready-to-wear line, diffusion line for kohls, a tuxedo line and multiple fragrances. Wang has also designed costumes for figure skaters.

5. Miuccia Prada
The Italian designer is best known for her eponymous Prada label and its secondary line, Miu Miu. Prada, who holds a doctorate in political science, entered the family business in 1978. What began as a small leather bag manufacturer in Italy is now a household name synonymous with style and luxury. The men and women’s clothing lines were introduced in the early 1990s.

6. Victoria Beckham
The former Spice Girl collaborated with denim label Rock and Republic to create a line of jeans in 2004. She launched her own denim line as well as fragrances and eyewear ranges under the brand dVb Style in 2006. It wasn’t until September 2008, however, that she debuted her Victoria Beckham label with a collection of spring dresses at New York Fashion Week.

7. Stella Mccartney
The daughter of former Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney, is a vegetarian and an environmentally-conscious fashion designer. She launched her own fashion house under her name in a partnership with PPR luxury division as a 50/50 joint venture and showed her first collection in Paris in October 2001. She does not use any leather or fur in her designs.

8. Anna Sui
Although she didn’t make her runway debut until 1991, the designer — who comes from a generation of subversive, underground style-setters — has created a following that’s more than 30 years in the making.

The flea-market junkie, known for her bold prints and patchwork, has taken inspiration from rock ‘n’ roll, the wild west and 17th Century English paintings to create some of the industry’s most energetic shows. 

9. Sarah Burton
The creative director for fashion brand Alexander McQueen designed Katherine Middleton’s wedding dress in April 2011.

She has produced acclaimed collections with a focus on handcraft, establishing herself as an accomplished designer. She was named the 100 most influential people in Time Magazine on April 2012 and was awarded an Order of the British Empire for her services to the British fashion industry.

10. Ritu Beri
She is the first Indian fashion designer to have presented a line at Paris. Her Lavanya collection, which she presented as a student, was the start of a long and illustrious career. Her ready-to-wear creations are a huge success in international markets and a centre of attraction for the French media.

She has dressed Bill Clinton, Prince Charles and Nicole Kidman and her journey is a perfect representation of Indian fashion’s inroads into the worldwide fashion scene.

Coco Chanel (1883-1971)

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973)

Rei Kawakubo

Vera Wang

Miuccia Prada

Victoria Beckham

Stella Mccartney

Anna Sui

Sarah Burton

Ritu Beri


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