The women who shaped personal style
And in the beginning we had CocoCredit: Time magazine
Tops the list because she began her career earliest 1910 as a fashion designer and social change advocate. Her influence is the strongest, in part because she was a designer and she had a long and prolific career.
In 1910 when she opened her hat shop she began altering the face of fashion. Her contributions include but are not limited to: All things jersey, striped t-shirts, menswear for women, two toned shoes, the quilted bag, pearls, pearls and did we mention pearls, changing accessories to alter an outfit, the little black dress, collarless jackets,tight skirts, hats, perfume, make up, obvious symbols for her lines, the tweed jacket, peter pan collars, bows and ties for women, wardrobe staples to mix and match, hemlines that stayed, impeccable workmanship, embroidered details, clothes for women not age, independence in thought and finances and above a fierce attitude.
the natural, classic sportster.
Credit: CBC television
Jackie Kennedy- Onassis:
The first lady gave us simple, clean and natural class. Her minimalistic approach to dressing was refreshing and understated, generations have coveted her -quality over quality approach to clothing. Jackie Onassis oozed style. Her understated elegance is undisputable.
She gave us classic simple cuts, simple lines and jewelry, consistent through her lifetime, her minimalistic wardrobe, was neurtal toned and always emmulated the 'natural look' , large sunglasses, hats and headwraps she could have been the girl next door, Her evolution introduced the natural, sportwear designers that America is famous for. Wether she was walking bare foot,seimming, sailing or being mother, Jackie O with her athletic body and look remains a classic in retro looks, everyday life, and the natural/sporty athletic style.
Sex Goddess or Sex Kitten... it all depends on the definition
A well-known American actress,singer and model, Marilyn was the beautiful, if not lost soul of the 50's and 60's.
Well known, her reputation was one of smouldering sexuality with her modeling and pin-up shoots and acting roles a seductress, she was the image of femininity. Marilyn was beautiful and vulnerable all at the same time. Her style was innocent and sexy, whether in jeans and a shirt, a dress or a sheet, Norma Jean, aka Marilyn left the world very aware of a womans sexuality. She was often portrayed as a simple bombshell, but the discrepancy between her image and her reality, is well documented. She says it best " I am good but not an angel, I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love". Marilyn Munroe remains one of the most copied and misunderstood icons of our times.
Her style contribution was embracing all that makes us feel like women. Sexy, confident, vulnerable, complicated , yet simple, a real woman in a complex world.
A Classic Beauty
Credit: universl pictures
Grace Kelly was a critically acclaimed movie actress when she retired at age 26 to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco. In the six years she was an actress, her personal style was strongly established.
Never one to own more than she would wear, she introduced us to the concept of mix and match and wearing things for extended periods of time. Princess Grace was known for her dislike of shopping, she prefered the classic cuts and quality, white shirts, mixed with casual pants, suits and skirts, she, like Chanel used accessories to alter the look of her clothes and match the occasion she was attending.
Androgeny with a girlie twistCredit: Photo shoot
A young underdeveloped Twiggy was thrust into the lime light for her lithe frame and pixie hair cut, startling big eyes and youthful appearance.
Twiggy gave the world a style image that changed a social norm regarding the female form. Like Chanel, she had a small boyish frame, definitely not the norm at during the 60's with the pointy bra's and form-fitting dresses.
Her impact: the pixie haircut, the bottom lash sweep, colourful eye liner, androgynous body, mod clothing, impish, youthful and thin The Twiggy look remains in vogue.
The Goddess of PunkCredit: promo shots
The lead singer of Blondie in the late 60's and 70's introduced the world to rock chic and grunge all the while maintaining her femininity.
Debby Harry may have rocked our world with a Heart of Glass but she definitely rocked the world with her bleached blonde bed hair, the use of leather, spikes, studs, boots, motorcycle jackets, heavy black eyeliner, scarves, logo embellished T's, scarves, shorter than short shorts, skinny jeans, denim, varsity jackets, hats and leather, lots of leather. Her key style was something borrowed from the boys, combined with something feminine. The feminine grunge rocker chic look enhanced her femininity, a style component that remains popular today.
Lady Dianna Spencer aka Princess Di
Transitioning for rolesCredit: promo BBC
Lady Diana Spencer
The people's princess, brought down to humility and a 'down to earth' quality to the British Royals. As s young bride who married Prince Charles in a fairytale wedding. the world got to see Diana grow into her new role and subsequently develop her own unique style. She fully supported local designers, and bought local when possible.
Diana's impeccable good taste developed as she matured. It is one of her greatest contributions, dressing for the occasion, suiting the clothing to the event, respecting others and never being over the 'top' also contributed to her legacy. Style for Diana did not come from money, but from learning and growing into herself, her ambitions and learning to accept and pursue the things that made her happy. Her classic good taste, eventual move into sportwear allowed us, as a world watch Diana evolve.
Wendy O Williams
The ExtremistCredit: stage shot by fan
Wendy O Williams:
As the lead singer for a hard metal band The Plasmatics, her somewhat overt sexual tones often pushed the boundaries on social norms. Her life and death wer on her terms, and that puts her on this list. She followed her heart, she lived life and died on the edge. As a strong anticonformist Wendy made statements about society with a deep love of "smashing shit" and "shocking people", she makes the list for a few reasons.The extremes of Wendy O Williams style still create ripples in main stream street wear while being embraced by subversive or underground cultures.
She is not well-known but her extreme style cannot be denied. From partial to full on nudity, leather 'Mad Max" outfits, dominatrix looks and devices, thigh high spiked boots, multiple piercings, long colourful spiked hair, torn T-shirts, muscular shaped body, and use of sex to sell the bands ideals (anyone else thinking sex tapes), stong silver cuffs, costumes, spiked leather cuffs,pieced leather bikinis, nipple covers and G strings. One of the first women who embraced and advocated body sculpting she gave women options to change and embrace their strength in body and spirit Her impact on bringing the subversive to the main stream cannot be denied.