The Fashion Icons Who've Influenced How We Dress Today

As someone who despairs whenever I have to sit down and learn about History (the joys of half my degree being French), it's rather paradoxical that I enjoy thinking about how the past has shaped our lives today. Although I don't particularly enjoy learning about History in a classroom setting, I like to conduct my own research and ponder about the aspects that I personally find the most enthusing.

The History of Fashion is, of course, an area that I find compelling - I think, because of it's accessibility and that it relates to every single individual on the planet. Put quite simply, we wear what we do because of how people before us did. They say History often repeats itself and that is evident in the fashion industry - 70's flares have come back into fashion and the animal print fad from the 60's has reared it's head once again. 

In this post I thought I'd talk about some of the most influential fashion icons who pioneered certain styles that have impacted on the way we dress ourselves today.

1. Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel pioneered the androgynous look for women; I firmly believe that without her influence, us women would not dress how we do today. She emancipated women from the confinements of traditional fashion, such as corsets, revealing necklines and heavy hats laden with jewels and feathers. The Chanel suit is an iconic fabrication, with many women's workwear suits taking inspiration from it. Chanel herself wore trousers - many that she borrowed from her boyfriend's closet, and she eventually began designing her own style of trousers that women then went on to wear more often.

Furthermore, the little black dress is archetypal garment that Chanel developed in 1926 when her designs appeared on the pages of Vogue. Simplicity and elegance were Chanel's mantras, and the little black dress exemplified these qualities and women's fashion took a turn down a more subtle, simplistic avenue.

2. Bridgitte Bardot

Bardot rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s as she was referred to as "the most beautiful woman in the world". Her style includes messy blonde locks, black cat eyeliner and full skirts; she also popularised the off the shoulder neckline, which is often named "Bardot" after her.

She was the embodiment of the liberated women, both stylistically and her role in activism also made her a strong figurehead that many idolised. 

3. Jackie Kennedy Onassis : "Jackie O"

Jackie Kennedy Onassis was a first lady who emanated grace, style and elegance to rival that of royalty. Although she was a public figure with immense responsibility, her style was always perfected to the maximum and during her initial year as First Lady, she reportedly spent $45,446 more on her wardrobe than the $100,000 annual salary her husband earned as president according to Time Magazine.
Jackie O popularised the pillar box hat, elbow-length white gloves and bows, all of which represented her perfectly manicured appearance.

4.  Audrey Hepburn

Of course, Miss Hepburn was going to be on this list; no shadow of a doubt! Best known for her kooky roles in movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany's and Roman Holiday, she stole the nation's hearts with her minuscule shape, doe-eyed visage and straight silhouetted outfits contrasted with the alternative image of beauty that Marylin Monroe was carving out at the same time. She was Hubert de Givenchy's muse, and he designed many of her most iconic outfits including the Little Black Dress she sported in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

She was most known for dresses that were tight to her straight waist and that were fashioned from modest fabrics; unlike the sparkly numbers Monroe wore, that tended to show off more cleavage; however, both were symbols of the utmost beauty.


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