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3 Fashion Brands You Didn’t Know Were Led & Designed by Women

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

When you think of Chanel, what comes to mind? Is it the iconic double C logo, their classic tweed cardigans with matching skirts or maybe even Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion house’s creative director for the past 30+ years? After the passing of the man responsible for turning fashion shows from just a performance to an immersive experience, Chanel is returning to its roots of being a fashion house created for women, by women.

How? By selecting Virginie Viard as its next artistic director.

If you considered Karl Lagerfeld as the head of Chanel, consider Viard as the neck that has supported the brand since Lagerfeld’s assumption of the artistic director role. She has been in charge of fittings and selecting the outfits for models like Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber to wear down the runway.

Lagerfeld even revealed in a Netflix documentary that he considered Viard as “The most important person, not only for me but for the atelier, for everything.”

Viard will be the first woman to serve as Chanel’s artistic director since Coco Chanel herself, though it’s practically impossible for her not to see thing through Karl’s eyes, too.

Although the transition to female leadership is groundbreaking for Chanel, other iconic fashion houses that you know and love have been run by women as early as 2016.

Enter: Dior and Givenchy.

Dior’s current creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri started off her creative legacy with a bang in 2016, by sending shirts that said “We should all be Feminists” down the runway for New York Fashion Week.

Aside from her obviously powerful feminine energy, Chiuri spices up Dior’s flair by incorporating more neutral tones into her most recent collections, blurring the line between genders in her designs.

She’s also responsible for the newest handbag trend, the saddle bag. This kidney-bean-shaped bag is covered in initials, very similarly to Louis Vuitton’s classic initial print, but modernizes the classic crossbody into a bag that calls attention based on its shape, instead of fading into the background of an outfit. In fact, it can make even more of a statement if slipped onto a belt like a fanny pack.

Chiuri isn’t the only female creative director blazing a new trail for a fashion house, however, so is Clare Waight Keller, Givenchy’s creative director.

The British designer of Givenchy took the plunge into the fashion industry in 2000, when she was hired as a senior designer for the brand’s ready-to-wear collection.

Her first introduction as a designer for Givenchy was actually when they hired her to become the artistic director of haute couture, a.k.a the largest and most creative position the brand had to offer.

Similar to Chiuri, Keller incorporates blazer as a unisex piece, but instead exaggerates their angles and produces them in shocking neon colors and textures, such as fur and feathers.

The introduction of females into some of the highest positions in fashion only mean one thing: The future is indeed, female.

Cayela is a junior at the University of Florida studying Journalism and costume design. She has a passion for street style, sewing and empowering others. She loves to write fun, well-researched articles with a focus on social justice. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @cayecuev
Darcy Schild is a University of Florida junior majoring in journalism. She's the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus UFL and was previously a Her Campus national section editor. She spent Summer 2017 as an Editorial Intern at HC headquarters in Boston, where she oversaw the "How She Got There" section and wrote and edited feature articles and news blogs. She also helped create the weekly Her Campus Instagram Story series, Informed AF. Follow her on Twitter and on her blog, The Darcy Diaries.