What would the Fashion industry look today without LGBTQ+ designers?

The LGBTQ+ community has given us some of the greatest fashion creatives we’ll ever know; Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabanna, Louboutin, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. In this article, Ioana Dumitrache explores what would the world look like without them.

What would the world would look like without Alexander McQueen?

According to biography.com, ”Alexander McQueen was a London-based, English fashion designer who became head designer of the Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy fashion line, and in 2004 he launched his own menswear line. McQueen earned the British Fashion Council’s British Designer of the Year award four times and was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He committed suicide in 2010, shortly after the death of his mother.”

But what would we have lost if Alexander McQueen never existed?

  • Luxury clothes for women. McQueen met enormous success with the introduction of his “bumster” pants, named as such because of their extremely low-cut waistline.
  • McQueen opened stores in New York, Milan, London, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
  • Spectacular fashion shows: a hologram of model Kate Moss floated ethereally at the showing of his 2006 Fall/Winter line.
  • McQueen’s contribution to fashion was honoured by a 2011 exhibition of his creations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
  • McQueen, the 2018 biographical documentary film, directed by Ian Bonhôte, written by Peter Ettedgui, and produced by Ian Bonhôte, Andee Ryder, Nick Taussig, and Paul Van Carter under the banner of Misfits Entertainment, and Salon Pictures.
  • Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and most of her wardrobe.
  • An Estimated Annual Revenue of $275.2M.

“Lee was enormously funny and he had a real anarchic element. To succeed in fashion you need self-possession and real drive.” – John Maybury for BBC

What would the world look like without Dolce&Gabbana?

Business of fashion presents these two amazing designers as “The Sicilian design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana”. They first met when Dolce called the fashion house that Gabbana worked for at the time. Gabbana became a mentor of sorts to Dolce, and when Gabbana returned from his mandatory military tour, the two launched a design consultancy together and eventually started “Dolce and Gabbana”, with a runway debut in 1985 at Milan Fashion Week.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have made a trademark of their surnames which is known throughout the world, easily recognizable thanks to its glamour and great versatility.

Mr Gabbana once told the Independent, “I thought that I could help spread a new culture as a famous person, a culture no longer based on gay rights but on human rights,” but is now adamant that:

“We are human beings before being gay, heterosexual, or bisexual.”

Stefano Gabbana

What would we have lost if D&G never existed?

  • We have missed the Italian character in the fashion industry
  • We would’ve lost their sensual and unique style on a world-wide basis.
  • The Hollywood stars wouldn’t have someone so unique to elect as their “unquestionable leaders”
  • Madonna, Monica Bellucci, Isabella Rossellini, Kylie Minogue and Angelina Jolie wouldn’t have such inspired and eccentric outfits in their concerts, at the MET Gala or at charity events.
  • Women from all over the world might not have been empowered by “sexy guêpières or bras that can be seen under sheer clothes, contrasting them with the very masculine pinstripe suits complete with tie and white shirt or a man’s vest” designed by the Sicilian duo.

Speaking to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Mr Gabbana said, “I don’t want to be called gay, because I am simply a man… full stop.” He continued, “The word ‘gay’ was invented by those who need to label people, and I don’t want to be identified by my sexual choices.”

The designers do not refer to these men and women as customers; that sounds so “commercial.” And for Dolce and Gabbana, this is art. (One of their coats is embroidered with gold thread, like something worn by a rajah, a queen or a pope.) But make no mistake: This art is for sale.

“Do you ask the cost of a Michelangelo? You don’t ask the price. Beauty has no price.”

Domenico Mario Assunto Dolce

What would the world look like without Louboutin?

Britannica described Christian Louboutin, (born 1963, Paris, France) as the “French fashion designer who was best known for his high-end shoes, which were identifiable by their brilliant red soles”.

He developed an unmistakable signature by giving all of his shoes bright red soles. A typical pair of his luxury shoes might also have a stiletto heel and upper parts of coloured leather or exotic reptile skins; prices averaged about $800 a pair.

He decided to use red on all his soles, reasoning that

“Red is more than a colour. It is a symbol of love, of blood, of passion”

Christian Louboutin

Despite such new lines, shoes remained Louboutin’s focus. In 2008 the first exhibition to be devoted to his creations, “Sole Desire: The Shoes of Christian Louboutin,” opened at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

What would we have lost if Louboutin never existed?

  • The history of shoes and the art of shoemaking was definitely poor without him. He began his high-end shoe line in the early 1990s and opened his first store in 1991 in Paris, France. In 1992, he introduced the now-famous red soles to his line of fabulous shoes and they immediately became the tootsie icon of elite exclusivity.
  • Another important fact noted in the Useless Daily is that the African style wouldn’t enter in today high-end couture if it wasn’t for Louboutin. He remembers that there that he saw a sign from Africa forbidding women wearing sharp stilettos from entering a building for fear of damage to the extensive wood flooring. This image stayed in his mind, and he later used this idea in his designs. “I wanted to defy that,” Louboutin said.

“I wanted to create something that broke rules and made women feel confident and empowered”

Christian Louboutin
  • The very first shoes he ever designed were inspired by the famous image of Diana, Princess of Wales sitting in front of the Taj Mahal during her visit to India in 1992.

“I remember the picture at the time of Princess Diana and she was looking at her feet and I thought she looked so sad…. It would be nice to have something to make her smile, when she looked at her feet”

Christian Louboutin
  • So he made a pair of flat suede pumps with the word ‘LOVE’ written in his signature red, ‘LO’ on the left foot, ‘VE’ on the right.
  • Maybe people wouldn’t ever understand that a high-quality shoe won’t be ever sold at a small price. Christian Louboutin will never consider doing a lower-priced line because it would compromise quality.

“It would offend me to put my name on a design I would not be proud of. It’s non-negotiable”

Christian Louboutin

What would the world look like without Yves Saint Laurent?

Growing up in the 1940’s French Algeria, the young Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent dreamed of Paris: a bullied outcast at school, he escaped into fantasy at home – devouring his mother’s fashion magazines, sketching endlessly, and predicting (in the safety of his adoring family circle, at least) a future of spectacular fame.

In 2001, seven years before he died, Yves Saint Laurent agreed to be filmed by documentary-maker David Teboul for a rare behind-the-scenes look at his work. In the opening scene, watching a slide show of family photographs, he grimaces: “J’ai joué le ‘grand couturier’…” notes the Guardian.

What would we have lost if Yves Saint Laurent never existed?

  •  His adaptations of tuxedos for women that garnered him fame never happened.

“Isn’t elegance forgetting what one is wearing?”

Yves Saint Laurent
  • The New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art wouldn’t give him, in 1983, a solo exhibition which made him the first living designer to receive such distinction.
  • He wouldn’t have his own fashion house, along with his partner and lover, Pierre Berge.
  • Models and actresses wouldn’t have a great inspiration: women in blazers and smoking jackets, and introduced attire like the pea coat to the runway. His signature pieces also included the sheer blouse and the jumpsuit, notes Biography.com

“I had noticed men were much more confident in their clothes. So I sought through trouser suits, trench coats, tuxedos, and pea coats to give women the same confidence”

Yves Saint Laurent

What would the world look like without Christian Dior?

Christian Dior was a French couturier whose post–World War II creations were wildly popular, and whose legacy continues to influence the fashion industry. He was best known for his eponymous fashion house which is often referred to as just Dior.

In 1947, Dior exploded onto the Paris fashion scene with designs that flew in the face of wartime restrictions and reintroduced a femininity and focus on luxury to women’s fashion.

His resulting success, based on the innovation of both his designs and his business practices, made him the most successful fashion designer in the world. His designs have been worn by film stars and royalty alike, and his company continues to operate at the forefront of the fashion industry, sums up Bibliography.com

What would we have lost if  Dior never existed?

  • World War II would’ve cut back women’s taste for fashion.

“Bright reds – scarlet, pillar-box red, crimson or cherry – are very cheerful and youthful. There is certainly a red for everyone”

Christian Dior
  • World-famous stars such as Rita Hayworth and Margot Fonteyn wouldn’t have bought or worn Dior pieces (both on stage and on-screen), raising Dior’s profile significantly.
  • The Royal British family wouldn’t have invited Dior to stage a private presentation of one of his collections (even though King George V forbade the young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, from wearing the New Look).
  • Dior wouldn’t have established a luxury ready-to-wear house on the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th Street in New York in November 1948.
  • He wouldn’t have launched Dior Perfume – with Miss Dior being the first fragrance to launch, and Diorama launching the following year. And millions of women won’t know the scent that they wear every day.

“A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting. ”  – Christian Dior

  • Dior wouldn’t be the first couturier to arrange licensed production of his designs: he imposed the complete look – shoes, gloves and hat.  Dior, together with  Jacques Rouët, licensed his name to a range of luxury accessories. Furs, stockings, ties and perfume were also manufactured in regional centres across the world, spreading his brand name quickly around the globe, writes Vogue.
  • ”Sex and the City” star, Sarah Jessica Parker (aka Carrie Bradshaw), wouldn’t have worn her iconic outfit with a black T-shirt and “J’adore Dior”.
  • The Juno dress created for the haute-couture of the 1949’s fall-winter collection wouldn’t have been created, which would be a shame and a loss in the world of fashion, because of its beauty and its architectural symmetry. This dress was an inspiration for Jennifer Lawrence’s dress, who took home the Best Actress award for Silver Linings Playbook, in her strapless Dior Haute Couture gown.

“Dior had transformed ordinary women into princesses, by embellishing their gowns with jewels made by with Swarovski. He restored women’s sensuality after the War”

Marie Claire magazine
  • “Dovima with Elephants“ never existed. This iconic picture taken in September 1955 and issued in Harper’s Bazaar is the “photographic incarnation of beauty and the beasts”. Dovima was wearing a Yves Saint Laurent-designed Christian Dior gown and posing elegantly and dramatically amongst a couple of circus elephants. The iconic Richard Avedon lensed it at the Cirque Medrano in Paris, and in the past half-century, it has transcended fashion editorial, notes Vanity Fair.

The LGBTQ+ community has given us so many great designers, so much creative talent. As we progress more and more towards equality and inclusivity, we can only hope that the fashion industry will be blessed with many more.

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