5 Contemporary Style Icons You Should Follow

Karen Alfonso , 11 Dec 2013
Style Icons
Style Icons

We’ve previously listed the 5 Indian female style icons that shook the fashion-scape of India, but now we’re setting our sights world-wide. These women have appeared on magazine covers, have had oodles of articles written about them dissecting their every outfit , and have blogs dedicated to their every appearance. Take a look at our list of 5 contemporary women who have changed the way we look at fashion.

Sonam Kapoor: International Flavour
Sonam Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor

When Anil Kapoor’s daughter, Sonam Kapoor first arrived in Bollywood, she was armed with an intrinsic knowledge of fashion. It made her peers pull up their socks in the fashion department. Whether appearing on the red carpet at Cannes or being snapped heading out for dinner, she treats it as her runway. She pulls off couture mixed with high-street with aplomb. Kapoor knows how to have fun with fashion. She’s been invited to sit front row at fashion heavyweights such as Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Burberry and has her very own Salvatore Ferragamo shoe designed especially for her. Only Priyanka Chopra and Abhishek Bachchan have held this distinction from India.

It’s no wonder then that Business of Fashion, the definitive site on the fashion industry, included her in their 500 Top Fashion Icons from Around the World, joining the ranks of Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey, Victoria Beckham and Anna Wintour.

Check out her style highs from last year.

Alexa Chung: The Unlikely Style Icon
Alexa Chung
Alexa Chung

Alexa Chung has been described as a phenomenon by Vogue US Editor Anna Wintour while The New York Times has named her the “Kate Moss of Our Generation.” Born in Hampshire, Britain, Alexa has 3 quarters Chinese ancestry from her father’s side. She was first discovered at the Reading festival at the tender age of 16. From then, she embarked on a career as a successful model appearing on the pages of teen magazines CosmoGIRL! and Elle Girl. In addition to that, she appeared in music videos for Holly Valance, Westlife and Delta Goodrem.

After 4 years in the industry, she became increasingly disillusioned and decided to pursue a course in fashion journalism. She suffered from a distorted body image and low self-esteem. However, after taking a bit of a hiatus, she switched gears and became a TV presenter. After stints with various channels and shows, she caught the public eye with her interviews with fashion designers and her sense of style.

So what exactly is her style? Well, Alexa can best be described as unpredictable. Sometimes, she can be off-beat and laid-back while other times, she can be androgynous or girly that’s been toughened up with a bit of edge. I love that she’s a champion at wearing flats and peter pan collars.

Alexa Chung carries her namesake bag "Alexa"
Alexa Chung carries her namesake bag “Alexa”

Alexa also has the golden touch. When she started carrying an old battered Mulberry bag around, the British label’s fortunes rose thanks to the demand for the bag, prompting the brand to reissue it as the “Alexa”.

Olivia Palermo: The High-Low Princess
Olivia Palermo
Olivia Palermo

If you haven’t heard of Olivia Palermo, you’re clearly living under a rock. The socialite-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-fashion-authority has certainly come a long way.

Born to wealthy New York socialites, Palermo grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth. She became a household name in America thanks to her role in The Hills spin-off, The City. The show documented her rival, Whitney Port, and her brush with the fashion industry while interning at Elle magazine.

Olivia Palermo and Johannes Huebl
Olivia Palermo and Johannes Huebl

Soon, she was snapped out and about New York City, much to the delight of the paparazzi, owing to her stylish looks. Coupled with her hot boyfriend, German model Johannes Huebl, the two are certainly easy on the eyes with their natural good looks. The couple have appeared together for numerous campaigns and fashion magazine spreads such as Mango and Hogan.

What’s refreshing about her is that she easily knows how to balance high-street with designer and her ability to mix and match and look incredibly pulled together. Always polished, she is chicness personified. She appeared on the Cannes red carpet wearing a Roberto Cavalli gown that she paired with high-street favourite Zara.

Putting her talent to use, she has launched her very own fashion website that doles out advice on all things style and beauty.

Kate Middleton: Queen of Recycling
Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton

The list would have been incomplete without Kate Middleton aka the Duchess of Cambridge. Like her mother-in-law, the late Princess Diana, Kate’s style has been the subject of worldwide scrutiny. It began at the press conference announcing that the Prince of Wales and she were engaged, showcasing that her style had evolved from being a regular girl to Britain’s future Queen.

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Middleton chose a blue drape dress from the brand Issa that matched her sapphire and diamond engagement ring. The world went into a tizzy, wanting the same dress and almost landing the label into bankruptcy, not being able to cope with the demand. (The label was rescued by Dodi-Al- Fayed’s daughter, Camilla Al-Fayed – how’s that for six degrees of separation?)

What’s endearing is that despite her wealth, Kate is known to shun high-profile designers for press appearances, often choosing high-street designs or recycling her outfits. So chiconomical!

Her favourite designers include Alexander McQueen (who designed her wedding dress), Jenny Packham and Roland Mouret.

Designer Alice Temperley says: “She’s very graceful, gracious and she’s a brilliant ambassador for British fashion. She mixes up designer and high street; the perfect modern-day woman.”

Check out her most iconic looks.

Solange Knowles: The Prints Propogator
Solange
Solange

Queen B or Beyonce as she’s known might have an enviable wardrobe, but it’s her little sister Solange that has given us serious style envy. Never one to shy away from bight hues and bold colours, she sets the bar high with effortless looks whenever she steps out onto the red carpet. The DJ/singer has earned the status of style star, proudly flaunting her afro and and wearing bright lips.

She’s scored a campaign with Madewell, cosmetic brand Rimmel and has walked the ramp for Alberta Feretti. Vogue UK even did a feature on her outfits chronicled over a series of 30 days.

What do you think of our list? Tell us in the comments below!

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