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The fashion world is what it is today thanks to incredible minds that helped build an industry of more than 100 years old. Even though fashion is always evolving, we should look backwards to be inspired by the classics and look at our generation, which dictate style nowadays. Here is a list of ten fashion icons that have made history inside and outside the catwalks.

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, most known as Coco Chanel, started her fashion journey with a small hat shop in 1910. Soon the French beauty turned her attention to clothes and created iconic pieces like the famous black quilted bag and the tweed blazer and skirt. Both are timeless pieces that remain sought after today and made Chanel a name to be reckoned with. Chanel died in 1971. A little more than a decade after her death, designer Karl Lagerfeld took the reins at her company to continue the Chanel legacy. She herself became a much revered style icon known for her simple yet sophisticated outfits paired with great accessories, such as the iconic necklace of pearls.

Elizabeth Taylor

A classic Hollywood star but with a curvy edge. Elizabeth Taylor had a dashing smile and was admired internationally for her style and how she could look good in just anything. At times when pretty dresses were the only attire of a movie star, Taylor would always redefine the normal and use from dresses, to pantsuits and fishnets.

Princess Diana

Charismatic, stunning and incredibly smart. The princess knew that with everyone watching her every move, looking good was important, and she did it in an effortless way. At royal events she was always the main attraction and made bold statements like the infamous “revenge dress”, a Christina Stambolian gown that she used in the night a documentary aired in which Prince Charles confessed to his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Even though Diana was a real princess she was always dressed like a normal person every day. The tight pencil skirt and heels were swapped for biker shorts, sneakers, a comfy sweater or a pair of pants. Who would have thought the princess of Wales would inspire one of today’s biggest street style trends.

Christian Dior

The Paris couture house was considered an institution and had everyone fawning over the silhouette of his “New Look” idea after the war. Christian also had some quite famous assistants, like Yves St-Laurent, that helped the brand become what it is. Known for his traditional designs and impeccable dresses, Dior brought elegance to the Hollywood carpets. Always adapting to the industry, he made the house earn the status it still holds today.

The Versace Siblings

Before being assassinated in his Miami mansion in 1997, Gianni Versace founded the brand with colorful designs and a mix of italian and greek background. His ideas were seen as fresh and loved by the public. With his death, Donatella, his sister made the decision to continue his dream and direct the fashion house. Even though she was still living the grief, she put up the first catwalk without Giani only three months after the tragedy, having the support of giants in the industry like Miuccia Prada, Carla Fendi and Giorgio Armani. The famous medusa head logo has made history among celebrities, making Gianni’s life dream of having one of the biggest brands come true. The siblings have the most iconic red carpet looks, one of the most memorable is the ‘Belt Dress’ which Gianni designed specially for his sister.

Elton John

Never afraid of being bold and expressing himself in fashion, Elton John always wore colorful and crazy costumes on stage. His boldness wasn’t just a character seen as he still makes fashion statements at 73. He wore iconic looks like the crystal covered costume made for the performance at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles in 1975, which was so memorable that was recreated in his autobiographical film ‘Rocketman’ (2019) and also used as an inspiration by the singer Harry Styles, as a look for Halloween in 2018. His sense of fashion has also influenced other singers like the queen Lady Gaga. Elton has also always existed outside the realm of gender norms and wore dresses many times. A true inspiration to a lot of contemporary artists and designers with all of his jaw dropping looks.

Naomi Campbell

A 90s icon that rose to fame alongside supermodels such as Kate Moss, graced all magazines and runways with her natural beauty and poised London girl style. Everyone wanted to be and dress like Naomi, making her one the most demanded and well paid models at the time. With timeless looks and a timeless beauty, the 50-year-old has definitely earned her fashion icon status awarded by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 2018.

Madonna

Miniskirts, cone bras or leather outfits, there is no doubt Madonna was ahead of her time and defined popular culture in the mid 80’s. Her ability to wear just anything made her grace the covers of big magazines and have designers fight over who would dress her in red carpets.

Paris Hilton

The true “it girl” of the 2000’s. Paris was a huge trend setter and made pieces like the juicy couture velour tracksuit a moment in fashion. Her barbie like way of dressing created the Beverly Hills look and is being brought back in today’s street style. Her iconic birthday dress was recreated by the model Kendall Jenner and caused a frenzy on social media.

Rihanna

The singer, who also has received the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) award in 2014, has shown for the past decade how to evolve from a popstar look to a modern and trendsetter business woman. Her unique styling made her known for unforgettable pieces inside and out of the red carpets. No wonder her brand (Fenty Beauty) is expanding more and more into the fashion and beauty world by setting new and very high standards.

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The article above was edited by Marina Ponchio.

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