Women Fashion Designers To Know Now
We take a look at seven female fashion designers to know now. Designers and fashion models have always had a special relationship, choosing the girls who embody their brand in campaigns and shows or drawing inspiration from models to design new work. From haute couture houses appointing women at the helm from the first time, to up-and-coming names to get familiar with, we choose our favourite women in charge in fashion.
Clare Waight Keller
Clare Waight Keller is the first female designer in the history of Givenchy. She trained in London and worked for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Gucci before being appointed at Chloe. She replaced Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy last year, and this season marked her second collection for the brand. A fan of skinny tailoring, her sophisticated rock chick aesthetic makes her a lasting fit at the brand. This week, the house lost their founder, Hubert de Givenchy, who passed away aged 91. Elite Model Look's Léa Julian was part of her second show in Paris for Fall Winter 2018.
A recent graduate of the prestigious Central Saint Martins, Charlotte Knowles takes on expectations of women and sexuality and turns them inside out with her deconstruction of underwear. Showing as part of the Fashion East platform in London for Fall Winter 2018, she previously trained with Acne, Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh. Elite Model Look’s Jasmine Hussain starred in this video for Charlotte Knowles for i-D.
Born in Ireland, Simone Rocha is establishing herself as one of the must-see designers in London. Her ruffles and lace vision of femininity, which layers fabrics like tulle and tweed, has won her a place in shops like Colette, 10 Corso Como and Dover Street Market. Her fashion designer father, John Rocha, taught her to sew, but she has said that she was equally been inspired by her mother who is his business partner, Odette, and whose style she describes as “hippy dippy”. Elite Model Look’s Louise Baillieu walked in her latest show in a black ensemble that totally fits Louise’s goth girl vibes.
Chiobe Abe doesn’t do things the way you expect. She first worked for Comme des Garcons under Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe, leaving to join Watanabe to launch his own brand, and quit fashion to have her daughter in 1997. Two years later, she launched Sacai as a knitwear brand, but she didn’t start holding runway shows until 2011. Today, her clothing is stocked in some of the best shops around the world, and Karl Lagerfeld is one of many fans of her avant garde yet easy-to-wear styles. Lea Julian and Vittoria Ceretti walked in her show in New York this season.
Although her family brand was founded in 1913, Miuccia Prada first studied political science to PhD level, and was involved in the women’s rights and communist movements in the 1970s. Taking over the family business in 1978, she has since turned it into a global fashion powerhouse, and created a sister label Miu Miu. Now one of fashion's most powerful women, Dr. Prada is a champion of new models, and her shows include some of the most exciting faces every season. She was one of the first designers to work with Yasmin Wijnaldum, a model whose fashion star has had a meteoric rise.
Maria Grazia Chiuri
Formerly at Valentino, Maria Grazia Chiuri was the first female designer to head the legendary house of Christian Dior, and soon made her mark with “We Should All Be Feminists” tee shirts. A champion of the arts, her collections have been inspired by women like Niki de Saint Phalle, Linda Nochlin and the seminal text Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Elite Model Look’s Ruth Bell has proved an enduring muse for Chiuri, opening the designer's very first show for Dior for Spring Summer 2017, walking in every show since and starring with twin sister May in the first campaign under Chiuri's directorship.
The daughter of rock star Paul McCartney and animal rights activist Linda McCartney, Stella McCartney brought animal rights to the fore the luxury market, with a zero tolerance policy on fur and leather. A champion of cool, elegant femininity, she designs with the lives of real women in mind. Her range of sportswear for Adidas established her as the name to design for the British Olympics team. Elite Model Look’s Nina Marker opened her Fall 2018 show last week in Paris, and Birgit Kos starred in her Fall 2017 campaign shot by Harley Weir in a landfill, which raised awareness on waste.