Let’s start the New Year with celebrating the most successful women in fashion!
Based on their visibility and economic impact the most notable entries in 2012 were Diane von Furstenberg earning the 33rd place, Anna Wintour coming in the 51st place and Miuccia Prada ranked at no. 67. What kind of influence do these women have on the global community and what kind of attributes do they need to possess in order to make the prestigious list?
Diane von Furstenberg (33rd place)
“The most marketable woman since Coco Chanel.”
Her father emigrated from Russia, her mother was from Greece, she was born in Belgium, but she was studying in England and Switzerland until she gained American citizenship due to her second marriage and has become “something of American fashion’s godmother”. She initially rose to prominence when she married the German prince Egon of Furstenberg and began to design clothes in 1970.
“The minute I knew I was about to be Egon’s wife, I decided to have a career. I wanted to be someone of my own, and not just a plain little girl who got married beyond her desserts.” -and she did it. Aiming to create her own fame, she introduced the iconic wrap dress which- due to its influence on women’s fashion- is already in the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After the phenomenal success of the wrap dress she launched a cosmetic line and her first fragrance, she founded a publishing house, published her business memoirs, launched her jewelry, scarf and beachwear collection, later her first children collection and became director of the Furstenberg Family Foundation that provides philanthropic support to a large number of non-profit organizations.
In 2005, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award and the following year named her as their president, a position she has held since 2006. On the top of her outstanding achievements described above, I think this is the role which gained her the remarkable 33rd place on the Forbes list of 2012 as CFDA plays a significant role in furthering the career of its members, promoting the appreciation of fashion as an art, nurturing the development of the American fashion industry’s future designers and mobilizes its membership to support important charitable causes such as fight against breast cancer and AIDS.
Anna Wintour (51st place)
“The most powerful woman in the fashion world”
Anna Wintour is the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, holding the position for 24 years now. She was born in London to a father who was the editor of the Evening Standard setting her career goals in fashion at a very early age. She always knew what she wanted and did everything she had to in order to reach her goals since she was 15. She had a quite exciting career and private life before acquiring her current status in the world of fashion. The Guardian has called her the “unofficial mayoress” of New York City. She sets the trends and it seems it’s worth to maintain a good nexus with her as she can make some powerful decisions influencing one’s future success. For instance during The Devil Wears Prada’s production, she was reportedly promising prominent fashion personalities, particularly designers, that Vogue would not cover them if they made cameo appearances in the movie as themselves. The film is based on a novel written by a former Wintour assistant at Vogue with the main character borrowing some aspects of Anna Wintour’s cold and demanding personality.
She is definitely a remarkable woman from a lot of perspectives. She has reformed the approach to magazine covers and began a CFDA/Vogue Fund to encourage, support and mentor unknown young fashion designers. She is also a philanthropist organizing funds for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and AIDS charities.
Miuccia Prada (67th place)
“The anti-glam fashion queen”
Haven’t we just mentioned “The Devil Wears Prada?” Well, here’s the Prada part. :)
The Italian House of Prada was founded in 1913 by Miuccia’s grandfather, Mario Prada, manufacturing luxury leather bags. Miuccia took over the family business with her husband, Patrizio Bertelli in 1978 and turned it into a multi-billion dollar fashion powerhouse. With her husband as the business force in the company, Miuccia introduced her ready-to-wear women and men collections and became known for her minimalist designs, sometimes she calls “uniforms”. At the beginning she wasn’t very much into fashion but rather politics. How many fashion designers have you met who graduated with a PhD in political science? And she was even member of the Communist Party fighting for the women’s right during the seventies in Milan. Just like her colors on the runway, she is not too eccentric. She is the confident, intellectual, modest working woman who offers a refined elegance to her followers. Instead of the industry trend promoting very feminine looks, Miuccia Prada sells comfortable luxury with big loose garments hiding the body, clean simple lines and quality.
This approach must work well as in the 1980’s the company started to expand globally, devouring labels such as Fendi and Jil Sander and launching a shoe line. Miu Miu was also introduced in 1992 as a less expensive women’s wear line that was inspired by Miuccia’s personal wardrobe and nickname. The company is now looking for an increased sales in Asia with a smartly designed Japanese inspired collection introduced at the Milan Fashion week. I was wondering, why is she hailed as a fashion trend-setter, why are other designers turning to her for inspiration, what’s her secret?
She is usually the leading power for other houses because she wants to go forward and avoids nostalgia. She has a rebel hidden in herself who is brave enough to always create something modern and does not go with the flow. Her unique voice seems to captivate the attention of women all over Europe and the world.
However, trendsetting or no trendsetting, I am not willing to wear socks with platform sandals, sorry! :)
Three extremely successful women with three different personalities and backgrounds. What do they have in common?
They are all strong-minded characters with an ability to make fearless decisions and to creatively re-invent themselves on a constant basis. They also possess the skill of a visionary in terms of being able to identify major trends that the audience of the fashion world might like in the future. They are simply a step ahead of others. It’s called X-factor, isn’t it?
More on powerful women in fashion:
Grace Coddington’s Memoir
Supermodels Then and Now
Fashion Editors Became the New Celebrities
The Iron Lady’s Power Suits on Sale
Is the Queen Fashionable in Australia?