Take a look at these 10 iconic fashion brands and find out how they came on top of a cut throat industry
Founded by Mario Prada in 1913 as a leather goods shop, Prada is a pioneer among world’s top luxury brands. Even though Mario Prada prevented women from his family entering the business, it was his daughter Luisa Prada who ran the business for almost 2 decades after his death. Her daughter Miuccia Prada took over the business later making it the international bigwig of today with the help and advice of Patrizio Bertelli who she met in 70s. By 1990s, Prada became a premium status symbol thanks to its focus on originality.
Well, even the Devil Wears Prada they say!
2. Dolce & Gabbana:
Dolce & Gabbana, with their superfeminine and fantastical style, broke away from the serious and sober-minded fashions that dominated during much of the Nineties
Domenico Dolce longed to work for Armani and even did an ill fated visit to his office with his sketches. Then he met the good looking Stefano Gabbana at a club ( don’t we all ) and impressed by his looks and pleasant personality decided to help him out in a fashion career, eventually ending up as a couple. They shared a one room loft and had different jobs and one accountant. For the ease of accounting, he put Dolce & Gabbana on top of every invoice, thus being instrumental in creating world’s biggest fashion brand.
Their women’s collection is distinct with focus on crystal encrusted clothing, filigree medals and embellished corsets. By 1990s hardly a decade after the inception, they had become one of the fashion forces to reckon with their varied collections in Men’s and Women’s wear as well as fragrance, which won so many coveted awards around the world. perhaps, their most famous client would be Madonna, who was instrumental in making their designs famous world over from 1990s till date.
3. Louis Vuitton:
Most of us would love the LV monogram in our belts, bags, shoes and anything the symbol comes with like luxury trunks, leather goods, ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewellery, accessories, sunglasses, and books. . Such is the brand image of Louis Vuitton that it has become one of the status symbols of the show offs among us.
This French fashion house was founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton in Paris. After his death his son Georges Vuitton took over with the intention of making it a force to reckon with. The brand started its journey with flat bottom trunks which was a novelty at the time and soon introduced more products. When it opened in 1913, Louis Vuitton building in Champs-Elysees was the largest travel goods store in the world. By 1930s, the company opened stores in different parts of the world like New York, Bombay, Washington, London, Alexandria etc. By the year 2000, LV had branched out in to Men’s and Women’s wear as well as accessories.
Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world thanks to its status symbol, making this one of the main headaches faced by the brand forcing it to spend half of its communication budget on anti counter feit measures. In February 2013, Louis Vuitton issued a complaint against the owner of a barber shop in Hong Kong for allegedly violating its intellectual property rights in relation to a stool using fabric coating that is similar to the checker pattern in Louis Vuitton’s handbags.
Another Italian brand. Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in florence in 1921. Gucci adorns the tag of the highest selling Italian brand around the world.
It was his stint as a member of staff in a Paris hotel, where he was impressed with the luxurious luggage carried by the guests, that made him think of starting his own line of leather goods. On his return to Florence, a city brimming with skilled artisans and high quality raw materials, he opened his first store in 1920 selling leather goods. Soon he opened additional stores in Florence together with his sons and also in Milan and Rome. The fine craftsmanship and the quality of materials used in the products soon made Gucci a successful brand.
Watches, jewelry, ties, and eye wear were soon added to the initial product list of leather accessories as handbags, shoes, and his iconic ornamented loafer as well as silks and knitwear.
A family dispute in the 1980s brought the brand to the brink of disaster and they were forced to sell the brand to new investors and over the years we see the ownership being changed. The famous designer Tom Ford is one of the many talented people who worked with Gucci at different times and under who Gucci Group acquired Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Bottega Veneta, Boucheron, Sergio Rossi, and, in part-ownership with Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga.
Think about ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes,watches, jewelry, accessories, eyewear, cosmetics or home interiors; one of the first names that comes to mind would be Armani. The group founded by Giorgio Armani handles several brand names like Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Emporio Armani, AJ | Armani Jeans, AX | Armani Exchange, Armani Junior and Armani/Casa.
Giorgio Armani is known for his clean, tailored lines. Even though a young Armani studied Medicine in the hopes for a medical career, he dropped out later and joined the army. He started his fashion career with a job as a window dresser in a Milanese departmental store, later joining Cerutti continuing where he also freelanced to contribute his acquired design skills to various manufacturers.. His personal as well as Professional relationship Sergio Galeotti who he met in 1960s, prompted him to open a design office in Milan. Success followed in many forms and he opened his brand in 1975. The rest is history.
Perhaps, Coco Chanel‘s story is much more exciting than any other designer’s, living or dead. Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel to an unmarried mother and a street vendor father in a poor house in France, she was sent to a convent for poor in Aubazine after the death of her mother and led a stark and frugal life till she was 18 years old. After her time in the convent, she made a living as a seamstress and also sang in a cabaret where she acquired her famous name Coco, thanks to possibly a popular song she was always made to sing.
Life took her through different twists and turns like becoming the mistress of Étienne Balsan, a young French ex-cavalry officer and the wealthy textile heir and living with him in his chateau. There she met one of his friends, Captain Boy Capel, who impressed by her beauty and brains and her skills in designing, helped her settle in Paris and set up her first shops. Their love affair would be one of the most beautiful love stories in the century even though he married another woman due to social pressures. His untimely death in a car accident in 1919 would leave Chanel a scarred woman for the rest of her life even though success, fame and wealth was hers through incessant hard work.
Read her biography Chanel: A Woman of Her Own by Axel Madson to find out how a strong woman from humble roots defied society and existing design practices and rewrote the norms in fashion through sheer will.
Founded in 1856 by 21 year old draper’s assistant, Thomas Burberry, the brand stands today for luxury clothing, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses, and cosmetics. Burberry is most famous for its trench coat, which was designed by founder Thomas Burberry. Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales have granted the company Royal Warrants, which have been maintained despite Burberry’s closure of its factory in Wales.
Burberry is synonymous with luxury currently
Versace, is an Italian fashion company and trade name founded by Gianni Versace in 1978.The first Versace boutique was opened in Milan’s Via della Spiga in 1978. In 1994, the brand gained widespread international coverage due to the “Black Versace dress of Elizabeth Hurley”, referred to as “that dress”. In 2000, the “green Versace dress” worn by Jennifer Lopez at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards gained a lot of media attention, being voted as the “fifth most iconic dress of all time” in 2008.
Today, Versace enjoys it’s own niche place in the luxury fashion market crowded by brands.
Most of you would have wanted at least one Fendi bag in your collection. Fendi stands for refined luxury and distinct fashion statement. Founded in 1925 in Rome, Fendi is renowned for its exquisite creations on fur and fur accessories. Fendi is also well known for its leather goods such as “Baguette”, 2jours, Peekaboo or Pequin handbags.
Since 1946, it was the five sisters of second generation (Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla & Alda) who brought a new wave of enthusiasm to the brand. One of the iconic designers, Karl Lagerfeld worked for Fendi from 1965.
Dior is a French luxury goods company controlled and chaired by LVMH. Founded in 1946 by eponymous designer Christian Dior, today the company focuses on designing and selling ready-to-wear leather goods, fashion accessories, footwear, jewelry, timepieces, fragrance, make-up and skincare. The company remains most sought after by women.