Here are my Top 10 Fashion Designers of the last 30 years.
From punk to the study of historical costume as the foundation for modern design, Vivienne Westwood has been the strongest influence on fashion for the last three decades. This includes subverting tradition in fashion design by first understanding the meaning behind clothes, the innovative use of materials and draping, and promoting concern for environmental issues and sustainability. Her approach is simultaneously fun, serious and cheeky. Vivienne Westwood is the designer’s designer.
Rei Kawakubo has continually broken new ground in fashion through her Comme des Garçons label and by creating a nurturing environment for artistic expression at the Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo. Her artistic approach to design including the creation of new shapes and innovative use of materials puts her at the cutting edge of fashion.
Yohji Yamamoto, along with Kawakubo and Miyake, was at the forefront of Japanese fashion in Paris in the early 1980’s. His radical use of unisex shapes, asymmetry, converting black to day wear, using heavy fabrics to create space around the body and strong colour to enhance his aesthetic, opened up a new definition of fashion.
Issey Miyake created beautiful new fabrics using high quality Japanese craftsmanship and innovation. His sculptural and industrial approach to fashion is highly influential today in his Pleats Please collection and APOC (A piece of cloth). Miyake is C0-Director of 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Japan’s first design museum.
Martin Margiela was one of the Belgian designers influenced by the punk movement and Japanese designers in the mid 1980s. An early innovator in the deconstruction of fashion, Margiela created new tailoring by pulling apart and showing the insides of a garment, then reconstructing in new ways with seams and darts on the outside. He incorporated worn surface design finishes including mould and bacteria treated fabric.
Galliano’s early influences of historical costume and tailoring and his flamboyant approach to colour, pattern and the styling of his collections, set him apart from his contemporaries. His ability to match strong silhouettes with imaginative colour and fabrics made Dior the most influential fashion house for some years. His own collection was an experiment in out-classing himself each season in lightness of fabric combined with exquisite colours, textures and prints.
I thought McQueen’s last full collection was the epitome of his genius as a designer. His risk taking approach to fashion bordered on contemporary art, with installation-like presentations and extreme silhouettes. He was one of the world’s most influential designers and is sadly missed.
Viktor & Rolf are the masters of tailored experimental design. They have transcended an architectural approach to fashion by creating incredible shapes through strong foundations and technique. By pushing the boundaries of fashion they deliver an often dark and always unique point of view.
Rodarte quickly became the design team to watch when the sisters showed draped georgette and chiffon moulded around the body via transparent foundations. Their themed presentations with innovative textile designs to match the new shapes make this label fascinating and influential. I wasn’t a fan of the Australian Outback inspired Fall 2012 RTW collection. To see a designer work successfully with Australian Aboriginal artists look at http://www.roopapemmaraju.com/collection
Katrantzou launched her début perfume bottle collection in Fall 2009 RTW, which showed a creative understanding of digital print and how to best use the medium. She has an appreciation of strong silhouettes and her overall aesthetic is bold and contemporary. Katrantzou’s training in textiles and innovative approach to fashion ensures she is a major designer to watch and is already one of the most influential designers internationally.
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