We all know the Gucci’s, Pucci’s and Diors of the world. Milan and Paris have always been hotbeds of international fashion. But the British, too, have thrown up some incredible fashion designers and brands. Saville Row, for example, is world renowned for their exquisite tailors that cater to royalty and Hollywood stars. Here is our list of six iconic British fashion designers that everyone should know about.
1) Alexander McQueen:
Lee Alexander McQueen has successfully built up one of THE most successful fashion brands in the recent past. Despite his tragic passing, the label has stayed afloat thanks to Sarah Burton, his trusted 2nd in command who took over the mantle. Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton chose Alexander McQueen to design not one but two wedding dresses as well as Maid of Honour Pippa Middleton’s gown. Discovered by fashion stylist/critic Isabella Blow, she persuaded him to use his second name Alexander professionally (Blow had bought his entire graduate collection from Central Saint Martins College for Art and Design in London). He is credited for introducing the rise of low-waist jeans after his bumster pants appeared on the runway.
McQueen is famous for its usage of skull – whether a skull clasp on bags or a skull print scarf.
Psst! Did you know he sewed expletives into the lining of Prince Charles’ suit jacket when he worked at Saville Row? Pretty gutsy, eh?
USP: Red carpet statement gowns and iconic prints.
2) Stella McCartney:
She might be the daughter of Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney but she has successfully carved a niche for herself in the fashion industry for cruelty-free designs. She was appointed the creative director of the fledging French house Chloé, and was credited for turning around its fortunes. She then left to expand her own eponymous line. Stella McCartney the label is adored by Gwyneth Paltrow, Liz Tyler and Cameron Diaz. Her collections shun the usage of leather and fur. With collaborations with giants like adidas and H&M, the McCartney label is steadily expanding.
USP: Cruelty-free designs.
3) Vivienne Westwood:
The grande ol dame of British fashion, Vivienne Westwood is famous for introducing punk into mainstream fashion. Her partner (at that time) after all was Sex Pistol member Malcolm McClaren, one of the biggest punk bands in history. She used punk iconography such as chains, leather and mixed them with traditional fabrics from Scotland such as tartan, creating a very unique look, quite unlike her contemporaries. She has three very different lines – Red Label, that is targeted at women below 30; Anglomania, which is a mass collection; and a menswear line. Using her clothes to make a political statement, she even went sans underwear to receive her OBE.
USP: Her clothes that embrace the female form.
4) Paul Smith:
When it comes to British menswear, it has to be Paul Smith. He also has a womenswear collection, which leans on the androgynous tailoring that he launched in the late 90s. He is also known for having designed the suits for football club Manchester United. Paul Smith wasn’t always looking for a career in fashion. In his early years, he was keen on pursuing a career in professional cycling until an accident derailed him. We’re glad he managed to find his second love in fashion!
USP: His signature pinstripes.
5) Victoria Beckham:
Victoria Beckham aka Posh Spice traded in her pop career for one in fashion. She first launched her denim and eyewear line in 2006 titled dVB. Two years later, she launched her own eponymous label with the fashion industry raising their eyebrows with plenty of scepticism. However, her intimate, detailed show won over most of her critics owing to her tailoring, attention to detail and curve hugging designs. Soon, the world was clamouring for her dresses and her fashion empire expanded into handbags too. She even named one of her IT bags Harper after her adorable daughter Harper Beckham.
B-town celebs love her designs – check this blog out.
USP: Exquisite construction that flatter almost every body shape. IT boxy bags that are devoid of flashy logos.
6) Nicholas Kirkwood:
Move over Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin, Nicholas Kirkwood’s shoes are the ones you need to squeeze your footsies into. His celeb fans include Sarah Jessica Parker, Solange Knowles and Miranda Kerr, among others who clamour for his architectural designs.
Kirkwood noticed a gap in the luxury market and embarked on a career creating shoes after honing his skills at Cordwainers College. He worked alongside milliner Phillip Treacy for 5 years, later branching out on his own. He has collaborated with avant-garde designers Rodarte, Prabal Gurung and Erdem. He raised funding for his line by designing for labels such as Ghost and John Rocha. His shoes toe the line (pun intended) between sculptural and pieces of art.
USP: Sculptural shoes.
Do you have any other favourite British fashion designers on your list? Show off your knowledge in the comments below!
Psst! If you liked this post, check out our list of 10 Spanish Clothing Brands You Should Know About!
Pix: PR Photos.com