Fashion + Feminism

Fashion empires built by women

In a world where women become more and more present in the ”male-dominated” industries, it is very interesting to discover the fashion empires that women built over time. Even though it is a tough battle for women to be recognized in „a men’s world”, some women with a strong vision, ambition and lots of good taste made it to Forbes, for building strong fashion empires.

Each of them had a unique recipe for being remarked and women all over the world not only feel great in the clothes or shoes other women produced, but these businesswomen inspire the young female generations into becoming independent, strong, meanwhile being fashionable.

I will present 5 of the most successful businesswomen that created long-lasting fashion empires. Not only they need no introduction, but they inspire us just by their names. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next fashionista who will build an empire of luxury

1. Coco Chanel

The name that needs no introduction—Choco Chanel’s presence in the industry is still strongly acknowledged. She introduced the fusion of two segments: women’s sportswear with women’s leisurewear.

She borrowed certain elements from the men’s section of the same and made it into a revolution. Her brand is widely loved and appreciated for bringing something new to an industry that can thrive only on innovation.

What many people fail to recognize is the fact that not only did she bring about something new but also introduced the world to a whole new area of fashion. She opened up a whole new segment that had not yet been explored. In that sense, she is a titan of industry, notes CEO World.

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different

Coco Chanel

She was credited in the post-World War I era with liberating women from the constraints of the “corseted silhouette” and popularizing a sporty, casual chic as the feminine standard of style.

A prolific fashion creator, Chanel extended her influence beyond couture clothing, realizing her design aesthetic in jewellery, handbags, and fragrance. Her signature scent, Chanel No. 5, has become an iconic product. She is the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century (Horton and Simmons 2007).

2. Donatella Versace

As a strong-willed businesswoman, Donatella Versace has become as influential for the clothing she produces as for the parties and celebrity entourage she interacts with, which has kept her family’s name under a bright spotlight. In the ’80s, she launched Versus, a younger diffusion line of Versace, which has remained on the pulse of everything young. Shortly after her brother Gianni Versace’s tragic murder in 1997, Donatella took over the brand, keeping it strong for almost 20 years, notes Harper’s bazaar. 

Donatella has designed advertising campaigns for Versace that included Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Courtney Love, Christina Aguilera, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Demi Moore, Nicki Minaj, and Lady Gaga and made Beyoncé and January Jones the personas and images of Versace.

For so long Versace couture was identified with celebrities and music, which I love. But at the same time it could overwhelm the clothes

Donatella Versace

Her popularity grew when she designed the Green Versace dress of Jennifer Lopez, also known as the “Jungle-Dress”, which was worn by Jennifer Lopez at the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000, according to O, The Oprah Magazine.

Donatella also designed the Palazzo Versace Australia resort on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, which opened in September 2000. The Burj al-Arab, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), has Versace furniture and bedding, according to Vogue. Donatella has also played a major role in the design of the Palazzo Versace Dubai, the second Palazzo Versace hotel, which opened in November 2016, notes Daily Telegraph.

From October 2002 to January 2003, Gianni and Donatella’s best known Versace clothing was displayed in a special exhibit of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

As chief designer and vice president of the Versace Group, Donatella Versace has a net worth of about $200 million, writes the Biography website.

In Italian there is an expression: We don’t sleep on the fame.

Donatella Versace

3. Delphine Arnault

Since 2003, Delphine Arnault remains the first woman and youngest person in a position of membership on the Management Board of the group LVMH. In 2013, she became Louis Vuitton’s Director and Executive Vice President, and a year later she created the LVMH Prize, a competition that funds young designers. Very few women sit at the top of luxury fashion, so Arnault’s success stands out, according to Harper’s Bazaar.

Since 2003, she has been a member of the management board of the group LVMH the first woman and youngest person to occupy that post, notes Investing Businessweek

I firmly believe that success lies in the combination of both talent and business savvy, and that the magic comes through partnership between both – Delphine Arnault

In 2008, she was named deputy chief of the designer Christian Dior Couture, which she quit in 2013 to join Louis Vuitton as director and executive vice president, writes the French newspaper, Le Figaro.

4. Brooke Wall

Through founding her agency The Wall Group, Brooke Wall has brought behind-the-scenes people in the industry—such as makeup artists, stylists, and even production designers—to the forefront of editorial fashion. For over 15 years, the company has harnessed new talent, joining them with major brands like Chanel or Miu Miu to be used in everything from advertising to editorials, notes Harper’s Bazaar.

The Wall Group was founded in 2000, after hairstylist John Frieda approached Wall about starting an agency.

“Everyone who was behind the scenes, creating the actual looks, was underrepresented within the industry,” she told The New York Times in 2015.

In 2019, the private equity firm Forté Capital Advisors sued The Wall Group, under the accusation of an anticipatory breach of contract, seeking damages of around $15 million, notes Business of Fashion.

5. Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham the fashion brand started off small, she told CNBC’s Tania Bryer, speaking at London Fashion Week on Sunday. “At the beginning, it was 10 dresses and I showed the dresses and then I sold the dresses and now it’s so much more complicated,” she said.

She’s not a trained designer and has relied on her team to help build the brand, now stocked in more than 400 stores, notes CNBC.

“There was two of us when I first started and it was just dressed, whereas now, we’ve grown. It’s not just dressing, it’s tailoring, it’s knitwear, it’s a complete wardrobe, plus accessories as well. So I’ve learnt a lot from my team and I’ve learnt a lot about the business. I’ve had to, I hadn’t done this before, so I’ve surrounded myself with the right people and the team has grown each season,” Beckham told Bryer.

Beckham hinted that a skincare and makeup line are in the works, after running a makeup collaboration with Estee Lauder. Also, Victoria is well known for her lingerie line, called Victoria’s secrets.

Together, Victoria and David Beckham are worth a whopping $900 million — upwards of $300 million more than the Queen herself. The Beckhams‘ lavish lifestyle includes spending on beautiful homes, luxurious vacations, and star-studded events, notes Business Insider.

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