Giorgio Armani

[Italian, b.1934.] Giorgio Armani is a Milan-based men’s and women’s wear designer.  He founded Giorgio Armani in 1975, which has since branched into an expansive company comprised of many labels.  His collections are acclaimed for their clean, unstructured but tailored lines that blend elements from classic and modern styles to create timeless silhouettes.

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Geoffrey Beene

[American, 1927-2004.] Geoffrey Beene was respected throughout the American fashion industry for the high technical quality of his work and his innovative, modernist designs. Although very fashionable, Mr. Beene’s collections were never trendy and always original. He took an artist’s approach to turning two-dimensional fabric into a three-dimensional shape for the body and was considered…

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Bill Blass

[American, 1922-2002.] Bill Blass began his career in New York City in 1945, designing for nearly five decades.  He became known as the creator of an American style marked by casual elegance and a sense of understated refinement.  In addition to designing both women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, Blass was one of the first designers to…

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Tony Chase

[American, b.1953.] Tony Chase was known for his dramatic, exotic designs that exude Hollywood glamour.  Chase designed his garments for “the woman with a past who wants a future.”  His clients included Bette Midler, Patti LaBelle, Morgan Fairchild, and Dolly Parton.

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Perry Ellis

[American, 1940-1986.] Perry Ellis founded his eponymous fashion label in 1978 as a men’s and women’s sportswear designer.  He quickly rose to prominence, and was esteemed for his casual and relaxed designs that maintained a polished simplicity.  Ellis is considered one of the most influential American designers of the period and is credited with having…

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Halston

[American, 1932-1990.] Roy Halston Frowick, known to the world as Halston, was the quintessence of 1970s American fashion.  His designs, in fluid fabrics like silk and chiffon, exuded femininity, glamour, and sophistication.  Because his designs broke away from the popular bohemian and gypsy styles of the 60s, his influence persisted into the early 1980s.

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James Galanos

[American, 1924-2016.] James Galanos was a California-based women’s wear designer.  His designs catered to the wealthy elite and were known for classical elegance and luxurious craftsmanship. Galanos never deviated from his principle of high quality and continually sought ways to improve and expand upon dressmaking techniques.  His clients included Rosalind Russell, Diana Ross, Grace Kelly,…

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Valentino Garavani

[Italian, b.1932.] Valentino Garavani, known simply as Valentino, founded his Rome-based fashion house in 1960.  He is renowned for his romantic, feminine women’s wear designs.  Valentino Couture has been worn by the 1968 wealthy elite across the globe for decades. One of his most notable clients was Jacqueline Kennedy who chose a Valentino dress for…

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Hubert de Givenchy

[French, b.1927.] Hubert de Givenchy is a retired Parisian couturier known for his elegant designs characterized by a cool chic, with a touch of avant-garde.  He founded the House of Givenchy in 1952 and is perhaps best known for his design relationship with famed actress Audrey Hepburn, for whom he created the majority of a…

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Donna Karan

[American, b.1948.] Donna Karan began her design career at Anne Klein in the late 1960s and in 1985 launched her own women’s wear label bearing her name. Her designs are characterized by their wearability and transitional ease from day to night. She was also one of the first designers to incorporate stretch fabrics into her…

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Rei Kawakubo|Commes des Garçons

[Japanese, b. 1969.] Commes des Garçons is a Japanese brand founded by Rei Kawakubo. She began the label as women’s wear and entered into the men’s market in the late 1970s. Commes des Garçons made its name when Kawakubo brought her collection to the Parisian runway in 1981. Her designs, which tend to be largely…

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Patrick Kelly

[American, 1954-1990.] Patrick Kelly was a young African-American designer who became the first American designer accepted into the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter.   He established his eponymous fashion house in Paris in 1988 and his designs were characterized by whimsy and exuberance.

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Calvin Klein

[American, b. 1942.] Calvin Klein is an iconic designer who founded his eponymous brand in 1968.  The brand has become synonymous with minimalistic designs and clean lines. Klein revolutionized fashion advertising by featuring himself as a model thus becoming one of the first designers with national face recognition.  The brand is also associated with overtly…

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Christian LaCroix

[French, b. 1951.] Christian LaCroix, who opened his atelier in 1987, is widely known for extravagant and colorful designs that exemplify the grandeur of the Baroque.  These same characteristics and theatrics were the fundamentals of 1980s fashion, making his couture intensely desirable.  LaCroix’s last couture collection debuted in 2009. The extreme extravagance and relative impracticality…

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Karl Lagerfeld

[German, b.1933.] Karl Lagerfeld has been the creative director for several women’s wear companies throughout his career, which began in1954 at Pierre Balmain.  Lagerfeld’s ability to design simultaneously for several different labels has been a hallmark of his career. In addition to his extensive design portfolio, Lagerfeld is best known for his outspoken opinions and…

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Bob Mackie

[American, b.1940.] Mackie is best known for dressing entertainment icons such as Cher, RuPaul, Bette Midler, Carol Burnett, and Diana Ross.  His ostentatious designs often feature bold colors, feathers, sequins, and rhinestones.  Of his clients Mackie said, “A woman who wears my clothes is not afraid to be noticed.”

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Mary McFadden

[American, b. 1938.] Mary McFadden launched her first design and manufacturing business in 1973 focused on women’s ready-to-wear and eveningwear.  In 1975 she patented a pleating technique, similar to that of Mariano Fortuny, which became popular in the mid-1980s.  McFadden’s aesthetic can be described as eclectic and innovative, as she drew inspiration from a variety…

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Issey Miyake

[Japanese, b. 1938.] Issey Miyake studied fashion design in Tokyo and trained with the Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture in Paris.  He showed his first ready to wear collection in 1971 in New York. Miyake is known for his experimental designs, using unusual colors, textiles, and draping techniques to explore the relationship between garment and…

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Albert Nipon

[American, b.1927.] Albert Nipon began his fashion career in 1954 with his wife Pearl as a designer of maternity wear.  In 1972 Nipon began making women’s wear and the company rose rapidly to fame and success.  Some of his most prominent clients included Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Walters, and first ladies Rosalynn Carter and Nancy…

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Bijan Pakzad

[American, 1940-2011.] Born in Teheran, Iran, Bijan Pakzad created his fashion legacy in 1976 when he founded his eponymous boutique in Beverly Hills, which has been dubbed “the most expensive store in the world.” Bijan retails fine men’s wear, accessories, and fragrances, all of which can be accessed in-store by appointment only. Bijan’s prestigious clientele…

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Oscar de la Renta

[American, 1932-2014.] Oscar de la Renta was a Dominican-American designer trained by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Antonio del Castillo in the 1950s and 60s.  De la Renta was renowned for his elegantly detailed, impeccably chic eveningwear. His designs, worn by celebrities, socialites, and first ladies alike, dominated the world of red carpets and galas.

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Zandra Rhodes

[English, b. 1940.] After opening and designing for her own boutique in London, Zandra Rhodes gained international fame in the late 1970s. Her unconventional designs, colors and patterns, all of which were creative, bold and bright, were noticed and adored by Princess Diana and Freddie Mercury alike. Rhodes’ aesthetic can be clearly seen in her…

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Yves Saint Laurent

[French, 1936-2008.] Yves St. Laurent was one of the most influential designers of the second half of the 20th century.  He began his career as Christian Dior’s successor in 1957 and opened his own house in 1962.  Saint Laurent achieved particular success in merging inspiration elements from street wear and high art in his collections,…

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Adolfo Sardina

[American, b.1933.] Adolfo Sardina, known professionally as Adolfo, is a Cuban-born designer who began his work as a milliner at Balenciaga in the 1950s.  Adolfo began designing women’s wear in 1963, blending relaxed American sportswear with elaborate embellishment.  His most prominent clients included the Duchess of Windsor, Betsy Bloomingdale, and Nancy Reagan.  He retired from the…

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Arnold Scaasi

[American. 1930-2015.] Arnold Scaasi was a Canadian-born designer who began his career in New York City during the 1950s, changing his last name from Isaacs to Scaasi to be more exotic. His creations are characterized by their bright colors, prints, ruffles, beading, feathers, and fur, and epitomize maximalism. Scaasi’s fashionable frocks attracted a throng of…

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Jean-Louis Scherrer

[French, 1935-2013.] Dubbed the “Aladdin of Couture,” Jean-Louis Scherrer opened his Parisian maison in 1971 after working under Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.  He was known for his opulent designs lavished with embroidery, beading, and feathers.  Scherrer dressed some of the most prestigious women of the century including the Kennedys and Sophia Loren.  He…

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George Stavropolous

[American, 1920-1990.] Born in Greece, Stavropolous believed in classic design and found inspiration in his Greek heritage. He was best known for his innovatively draped silk dresses that were favored by many celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Streisand, and First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson.  His gowns ignored fashion trends, favoring elegance…

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Pauline Trigère

[American, 1908-2002.] Pauline Trigère was born in Paris and immigrated to the United States in 1937.  She began her career in New York during the 1940s and became well known for her elegant and crisp tailored cuts.  Her designs combined extravagance with sophistication, and catered to her wealthy and glamorous clients who were often members…

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Emanuel Ungaro

[French, b.1933.] Emanuel Ungaro founded his Parisian fashion house in 1965 after stints at Balenciaga and Courrèges.  He is known for creating undeniably feminine silhouettes in strikingly bold colors and flamboyant prints.  In 2004, Ungaro sold his business and retired.

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Gianni Versace

[Italian, 1946-1997.] As the designer and founder of Versace, Gianni Versace was the quintessence of 1980s fashion, in both personality and brand.  He began his career as a theatrical designer, and his designs, which were heavily influenced by ancient Greco-Roman history, featured flamboyant colors and patterns bursting with movement and sensuality exemplifying a glamorous, larger-than-life…

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Michaele Vollbracht

[American, b. 1947.] Michaele Vollbracht studied fashion at the Parsons School of Design in 1965. After working for Geoffrey Beene and Donald Brooks, he began his own line in 1979.  The line was well received, but the company quickly folded in 1989 due to issues with financial backing.  He was also well known as an…

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