Category: Fashion Designers
Our fashion designer directory gives you the quick scoop on today’s most popular designers, plus more in-depth articles on Budget Fashionista favorites like Gucci, Jason Wu and more.
Browse the quick guide below for some cocktail party knowledge — or to help you decide which shows to follow when fashion week rolls around.
If you’re an up-and-coming designer yourself or fascinated with how big fashion brands are built, explore our fashion designer articles below. Our more popular pieces include Jason Wu: What You Didn’t Know About this Fashion Icon and Designer Spotlight: Michael Kors.
Reach out and let us know if you’d like us to add any labels to this directory!
To sum up the life of Gloria Vanderbilt in just a few words would not do her justice. Indeed, her story is one of true starry-eyed enigma: she was a mother, an actress, an author, a socialite, an heiress, an artist and a pioneer in the fashion world.
Vanderbilt got her start in the industry as a teenage model. But her true calling was in design, which she experimented with during the 1970s. At the time, she dabbled with textiles and produced a few dresses. It led to a partnership with Mohan Murjani, with whom she launched a collection of legendary jeans branded with a swan logo and her signature on the back right pocket.
Vanderbilt: The Jeans That Changed Everything
Vanderbilt jeans launched in 1977, supported by a massive advertising campaign — and the masses responded. According to the New York Times, the initial production run of 150,000 sets of jeans sold out the day their first TV commercial aired. That commercial and the print ads featured Gloria herself, proving that women loved her as well as her jeans.
But Gloria Vanderbilt by Murjani was more than a financial success. This was the story of a revolutionary, high-waisted jean that transformed the world of women’s fashion.
Flattering, comfortable, size-inclusive
The jeans owe their popularity to Vanderbilt herself. Not only because she was the spokesperson, but also due to her unflinching commitment to fit, quality and style. Vanderbilt never sacrificed one for the other. And that resulted in a jean that was as sexy and flattering as it was comfortable.
Today, many tout Vanderbilt’s jeans as the first true designer jean and the first skinny jean. Vanderbilt was also among the early designers to include sizes that, today, would be categorized as juniors and plus-size.
Women, Jeans and Sex Appeal
Denim has played many roles in our culture. Once the fabric of men’s work pants, it later evolved into a uniform for teenage rebels in the ’50s. In the ’70s, jeans morphed into a symbol for American girl sexuality, thanks in part to Farah Fawcett — who rocked medium-wash flares like no other.
But it was Gloria Vanderbilt who kicked off the broader sexy jean movement that flourished in the ’80s. That early Vanderbilt-branded, dark-wash skinny set the stage for all the sexy jeans that would follow, including Calvin Klein and Jordache.
And for that, Ms. Vanderbilt — fashion innovator and female entrepreneur — we thank you.
Goodbye Gloria Vanderbilt — We’ll Miss You
Vanderbilt’s son, Anderson Cooper, reflected on his mother in a heartfelt eulogy.
I always thought of her as a visitor from another world, a traveler stranded here who’d come from a distant star that burned out long ago.Anderson Cooper
The poignant words go a long way in describing how Vanderbilt lived her life. An artist with a vision, a creative soul, and a woman who — even to those closest to her — seemed to transcend the world that contained her.
This Swiss, family-run, company has come a long way from designing polka-dotted aprons in 1922. Considered as Switzerland’s largest clothing company, Akris showcases elegant and perfectly tailored suits for no-nonsense professional women who want classic and timeless pieces with a touch of modern flair. Although it’s a relatively unknown label, Akris has been dressing high profile women such as Condoleezza Rice, Diane Sawyer and Princess Caroline of Monaco for years. Currently, Albert Kriemler is the head designer of the brand and in honor of his grandmother Alice, each piece comes with a hidden polka-dot lining. He is also the man behind Akris Punto, a less expensive line of the brand that appeals to the younger generation.
Akris – Photo Credit: akris.ch
Her frustration in finding the right wedding gown in 1985 led Ethiopian Amsale Aberra to launch her bridal line. With a vision of creating timeless wedding gowns that have clean lines and design, yet full of sophistication that accents a bride’s body, she adapted the motto “forever modern” for her collections.
A graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Amsale‘s bridal gowns quickly garnered attention and she broaden her line with evening gown collection. After opening her flagship store in 2001, she acquired Christos Bridal Dresses and hired bridal designer Kenneth Pool to create more ornamented wedding gown designs. Austin Scarlett, of Project Runway Fame, took over the line after Kenneth Pool parted ways with the company. The Amsale Design Group is now composed of four lines, the Amsale Bridal, Amsale Evening, Christos Bridal Dresses and Kenneth Pool.
Amsale – Photo Credit: amsale.com
Pronunciation: Jor-ji-o Ar-ma-nee
Known as the Prince of minimalist glamour, Giorgio Armani chucked a career in medicine for the life of a fashion designer. Although he started his labels in the mid 70s, most consider his styling of Richard Gere in “American Gigolo” in the early 80’s as his break into mainstream fashion. Armani is now a global brand with numerous sub labels from the couture Giorgio Armani to the mass market A/X Exchange. When thinking about Armani, think Italian tailoring with a bit of classic American style.
Armani, Giorgio – Photo Credit: pointclickhome.com
Pronunciation: Ma-x As-ree-a
Azria is the head of a family run fashion empire that includes the BCBG lines, The Rave,G+G stores, Herve Ledger (you know those iconic bandage dresses), and a couple of more brands. His lines tend to be heavily influenced by California High Fashion- printed jersey knits, shoes with a bit of bling, etc and tend to be more of a junior cut. You can often find pieces from BCBG at your local Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet.
Azria, Max – Photo Credit: stylescoop.net
Pronunciation: Yee-gal As-roo-elle
Even without formal training in fashion design, Israeli born Yigal Azrouël has been successful in being critics’ favourite for his expertise in draping modern silhouettes with high quality fabrics to show an effortless feminine chic look. After launching his eponymous line in 1998 in New York, Azrouël found a slot in the fashion world with his urban sophisticated styles inspired by art, culture, nature, architecture and his travels. A designer who understands the flawlessness and the reality behind a woman’s body, Azrouël is one of the rare ones who produce his clothes in American sizes 2 to 12. His best known pieces are the experimental jersey T-shirts and shrunken leather jackets.
Azrouël, Yigal – Photo Credit: style.com
Mark Badgley and James Mischka do Old-Hollywood evening wear like nobody else. Teri Hatcher and Winona Ryder created a storm on the red carpet in 1996 wearing the designer-lover duo’s glamorous gowns and the world soon took notice. Badgley Mischka is most famous for its out-of-this-world bridal wear (remember the awesome bridal gown Charlotte York wore at her second wedding in Sex and the City? That was them.), and they also design glamorous daywear, sportswear and lingerie.
Badgley Mischka – Photo Credit: Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images
Spanish designer, Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972) is a true inspiration for twentieth century designers. His designs created illusions, while outlining the perfect silhouette of a woman’s body. Balenciaga favored mute colors like black and brown, as well as an asymmetrical design. He’s influenced designers as diverse as Andre Courreges and Marc Jacobs. The house is mostly known for its excellent leather goods, particularly the famous motorcycle bag.
Balenciaga – Photo Credit: balenciaga.com
Pronunciation: Jof-ree Bee-n
American designer Geoffrey Beene fashion career spans more than 40 year career, opening his own company in 1963. Beene garnered success for his bolero jackets, streamlining jumpsuits, high waisted pants, stiffed structured dresses and paper-doll silhouettes. In 1967, he shot to stardom after designing Lynda Bird Johnson’s high necked princess line wedding dress. In 1974, Beene was one of the first designers to launch an affordable casual clothing line called Beene Bag. In 1976, he was the first American designer to hold a fashion show in Milan. Constantly praised for revolutionizing fashion, Beene had received several awards from the industry such as an induction in Fashion Hall of Fame and a lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 1988. Beene succumbed to cancer in 2004 and all of the company’s the net proceeds go to different causes through the GBGB Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® program.
Beene, Geoffrey – Photo Credit: geoffreybeene.com
Pronunciation: Muh-no-low blah- nick
When Carrie Bradshaw, the main character on HBO’s popular series “Sex and the City”, begged a mugger not to take her Manolos, a love affair was born. The high end shoe maker, who is responsible for the design and prototype of every shoe that bears his name, and his 30 year old company is THE shoe of record for those who want (and can) be fabulous in 3+ inch stilettos (Manolo does make flats and lower heeled mules). The shoes, made of silk, lace, satin and other nice materials, cost upwards of $300. Blahnik is solely responsible for the design and prototype of every shoe that bears his name. Can’t afford the 300+ price tag? Save up to 80% off the retail price of a pair of Manolo’s by shopping at the Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus Outlet stores.
Blahnik, Manolo – Photo Credit:manoloblahnik.com