Fashion Figures

The Influential Men of Fashion

The Influential Men of Fashion

Change is the constant thing in this world – most especially in fashion. Designers, brand founders, models, photographers and other people in the fashion industry are all devoting their talents to bring new and interesting creations to the runway every time. Women dominate fashion in numbers, as only few men choose to have a career in this industry, but these guys rocked the style scene and influenced the fashion world forever:

Ralph Lauren1. Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren’s label is one of the most successful fashion empires in the world. The classic American brand is popular for its Polo line and Ralph Lauren fragrances. Born as Ralph Lifshitz, Lauren was always committed on looking sharp as he worked while in high school to buy himself expensive clothes. In 1967, he designed wide and colorful ties that quickly became popular. Shortly thereafter, Lauren launched Polo Fashions, a clothing line offering effortless but preppy apparel for men and women. He popularized the classic Polo shirt with short sleeves and a collar, which is still a staple for every men and women’s wardrobe around the world.

Levi Strauss2. Levi Strauss

Who isn’t familiar with “Levi Strauss?” Being the inventor and first manufacturer of the immortal blue jeans, he has become a household name until today. During the late-1800s, Strauss was a businessman seeking to take advantage of the California Gold Rush when his frequent client, Jacob Davis, proposed to collaborate with him on a joint venture. Davis always bought canvas fabric from Strauss to repair torn work pants of miners, and thought of a plan to reinforce the rips with copper rivets. Strauss agreed, and he helped Davis gain patent for the work clothing. In 1873, they began manufacturing the pants and they became a hit because of their durable material. The denim was later produced using lightweight material such as cotton dyed with indigo, and it ushered the way for Levi’s pants to become and international phenomenon.

René Lacoste3. René Lacoste

Lacoste’s brand is famous for its polo shirts with the crocodile logo, a classic sportswear that never goes out of fashion. René Lacoste was a world champion tennis player who, during the time when woven tennis whites were the norm, invented his own uniform: a short-sleeved polo shirt made of cotton with a crocodile embroidered on the chest. When Lacoste retired from tennis in the 1960s, he began marketing his shirts for the tennis market, which was eventually introduced to the upscale golf market as well. It was in the 1970s and 80s when his Polo shirt gained mass appeal. One fun fact: Lacoste was one of the first designer clothing brand with a logo placed on the outside of apparel.

Christian Dior4. Christian Dior

Known as the founder of the world’s top luxury fashion houses, Christian Dior was a French designer who popularized the New Look line that regimented the styles of World War II fashion. He was a “fashion dictator” in the 1950s – producing voluptuous designs on dresses and flaring them out from the waist to show women’s curves. His work revolutionized women’s dresses and re-established Paris as the fashion capital of the world after the war.

Gianni Versace5. Gianni Versace

Gianni Versace ran a popular fashion empire that produced luxury apparel, accessories, cosmetics, fragrances and home furnishings. The Versace brand was known for its glamorous styles, with dresses marked by bold colors, daring cuts and sex appeal – no wonder why Bruno Mars wants it taken off. Versace was a friend to many celebrities, royalties and singers like Princess Diana, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Cher and Sting – dressing these personalities with his brand.

Christian Louboutin6. Christian Louboutin

Loboutin shoes are easily identifiable because of their trademark red soles. Parisian shoemaker and designer Christian Louboutin is famous for making dressy evening-wear stilettos with adornments great for walking on the red carpet. His shoes are often shiny, stating that the wearer has an exquisite taste in fashion. His goal has been to “make a woman look sexy, beautiful, to make her legs look as long as [she] can.”

Giorgio Armani7. Giorgio Armani

One of the finest fashion designers in the world, Giorgio Armani is one of those successful tycoons who really worked their way up to the top. He started his career in fashion as a window dresser for a department store, and eventually launched his own company that specialized in menswear designs in 1975. By the 1980s, Giorgio Armani redefined the business suit for both men and women to make it more comfortable and flexible. He is also credited for pioneering red-carpet fashion.

Valentino Garavani8. Valentino Garavani

Even people with the vaguest interest in fashion are familiar with the name Valentino, simply because of his famous red evening dresses. Valentino Garavani’s designs are usually made with luxurious fabrics to meet the tastes of notable people and fans of the haute couture label. Wardrobes of well-dressed wealthy women across the globe such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Jacky Kennedy, Princess Margaret and Elizabeth Taylor definitely have “Valentino red” dresses. His wedding dresses are exquisite and memorable, too.

Marc Jacobs9. Marc Jacobs

You may have seen Marc Jacob’s chiseled body on advertisements for his fashion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, but he actually used to be a chubby designer who worked behind the scene. He was a former artistic director for Louis Vuitton and expanded the business of the luxury brand quadruple-fold. His handbags, clothes, shoes and perfume became status symbols for every “it girl.” There was a time when an LV monogrammed bag or a quilted Jacobs bag is a necessity for a socialite, and both products were designed by Jacobs. While his own fashion line was rising, his waistline got smaller, helping him also rise to fame, just like his designer bags.

Roy Raymond10. Roy Raymond

Roy Raymond founded Victoria’s Secret to ease an awkward situation most men can relate – he felt embarrassed shopping for underwear for his wife in a public department store. With a $40,000 bank loan and $40,000 borrowed from relatives, he opened the first Victoria’s Secret: a store where men could feel comfortable buying lingerie. In its first year, the business earned half a million dollars. The company was an overall success, as it has become popular all around the world. Because of Raymond, the public is enjoying cultural acceptance of shopping for underwear. Beyond that, fashion shows featuring Victoria’s Secret models, known as Angels, have become part of popular culture that no one considers it odd to see professional models and celebrities walking in the catwalk wearing bras that cost less than $100.

Tom Ford11. Tom Ford

Tom Ford is the man who brought Gucci back to life. Being hired as the company’s artistic director at a time when the fashion brand was about to become bankrupt, Ford put new life by creating new trends in fashion like skinny satin shirts, metallic boots and velvet hipsters. After two years as the creative director, sales for Gucci increased by 90%. His designs are also carried by labels such as Perry Ellis, Yves Saint Laurent and Cathy Hardwick, as well as his own brand label, Tom Ford.

Marc Ecko12. Marc Ecko

A graffiti artist with no connections in the fashion industry, Marc Ecko left pharmacy school to start his own authentic, personal brand. With small loans from his sister and friend, he traveled to Hong Kong to learn about the clothing industry and went back home to start a business. He sold oversized shirts with his designs at skate shops, cross breeding two teen cultures. Today, Ecko Unltd. is one of the leading brands in hip-hop fashion, offering urban clothes and accessories to teenagers, children and young adults.

Guido Palau13. Guido Palau

Tagged by British Vogue as the world’s most in-demand hair stylist, Guido Palau is a trendsetter in the fashion industry. His styles are showcased on the runways of big fashion houses like Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Versace, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren, among others. Whatever style he creates each season, it automatically sets hairdressing trends.

Steven Meisel14. Steven Meisel

One of the most powerful photographers in the fashion industry, Steven Meisel has propelled many successful models to fame. He quickly became an iconic photographer because of his affinity to connect with the models and execute scenes that reflect societal issues. For over the past 20 years and more, his work appeared on every cover and editorial for Italian Vogue. His photographs are also featured in US Vogue and W, as well as fashion ad campaigns for Versace, Prada, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton, among others. He also collaborated with Madonna in 1992 for her notorious book Sex.

Guy Bourdin15. Guy Bourdin

Guy Bourdin’s fashion photography differed from the way conventional photographers focus on clothing and beauty – his style was uniquely associating erotic, sinister and surreal components at the same time. His images are famous for their mysterious sense of sex and danger, which led some critics to accuse him of objectification. His career peaked in the 1970s, working mostly with Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as in ad campaign shoots for big brands. Bourdin has set the stage for a different kind of fashion photography and has become one of the most radical and influential fashion photographers of the 20th century.

Tyson Beckford16. Tyson Beckford

Best known as a model for Ralph Lauren Polo, Tyson Beckford was the most successful male supermodel of all time. Besides Ralph Lauren, he also worked for Gucci, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Herb Ritts. Beckford successfully crossed-over to the entertainment industry with his acting and TV hosting skills, as he became host of two seasons of Make Me a Supermodel. One notable appearance of him was in a cameo in Britney Spears’ “Toxic” music video.