Behemoth-like in its growth and influence, the fashion industry can never be underestimated. Stylist’s inaugural Fashion Power List, voted for by 11 of the most important people in the style world, pays tribute to this dynamic landscape – celebrating everything from the most seminal products to the designers that make a difference. If they count, they’re here…
As tasks go, deciding the five best designers in the world over the past 12 months is as mammoth as it gets. In an industry bursting with talent, there is a litany of creatives setting the fashion agenda, pushing boundaries and, above all, making us dream.
Our panel’s opinions ran the gamut, with judges designer Jonathan Saunders and style journalist Harriet Quick flying the Marc Jacobs flag for taking Louis Vuitton to stratospheric heights. Ruth Chapman, joint CEO of matchesfashion.com, felt that Christopher Bailey and Phoebe Philo’s influence couldn’t be overlooked; while Browns founder Joan ‘Mrs B’ Burstein insisted Sarah Burton should secure a place for maintaining the McQueen brand legacy. Editor of industry website The Business Of Fashion, Imran Amed enthused, “Mrs Prada leads the way. She really is A Fashion Designer”.
A fashion truism, as our panel all agreed. Christopher Kane’s inclusion was bolstered by his achievement at being bought by luxury conglomerate Kering (formerly PPR), as Jonathan Saunders sums up, “It’s such a big deal!” In the end, extraordinary talent shone out.
MIUCCIA PRADA, Designer, Prada
Every season Miuccia Prada’s (pictured) vast imagination and groundbreaking creations hold the fashion world in her thrall. Her studies in political science mean her designs are often intellectual and it’s an unspoken rule that what she says, goes. No power list would be complete without her.
PHOEBE PHILO, Creative Director, Celine
Phoebe Philo has taken ownership of what modern womenswear design looks like today, with a luxurious yet minimal aesthetic and slick, sell-out accessory collections. “Everyone I speak to talks about how they just can’t keep Céline bags in stock,” said Jonathan Saunders.
SARAH BURTON, Creative Director, Alexander Mcqueen
Burton has taken one of Britain’s most fabled fashion houses to giddy new levels of success, aided by her skill for blending femininity with avant-garde edge. “Her design sensibility is so powerful it really is fashion and art combined,” explained fashion patron Mrs B.
RAF SIMONS, Creative Director, Dior
Stripped back, clean and utterly luxurious, the new look at Dior is down to the clarity of vision of this Belgian designer. Since he took the helm last summer, Simons has gained an almost fetishistic following for his pieces. Stylist acting editor Susan Riley says, “He truly redefines our idea of what modern femininity is.”
CHRISTOPHER KANE, Founder and Creative Director
A star from the moment he sent out his first collection (“And a truly innovative British talent,” says Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council), his status was confirmed when Kering invested 51% in his brand this January, bringing him onto the same platform as Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen
Dismiss the fashion industry’s might at your peril: in the UK alone, fashion contributes £21 billion a year to the economy. Some of these names might remain unrecognisable outside the industry but Nick Robertson (co-founder of ASOS), Francois-Henri Pinault (CEO of Kering – the group that owns Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney), Bernard Arnault (chairman and CEO of luxury brand conglomerate LVMH) and Sir Philip Green (CEP of the Arcadia Group and owner of Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins) all use their business backgrounds to ensure that creative dreams can translate into successful brands.
This category acknowledges the ambassadors for British design who are world leaders in the fashion arena, helping to bring focus to UK labels by wearing them fabulously in public or supporting designers through business.
The British editor-in-chief of US Vogue since 1988, London-born Wintour (pictured) was named artistic director of Condé Nast in March.
As cultural ambassador for the British Fashion Council (BFC), model Bailey got the panels’ vote for wearing and championing British talent.
The Net-A-Porter founder became chair of the BFC in January and has since magnified the global attention on LFW designers.
Smythson’s creative consultant, “helps not just by wearing but by encouraging British designers,” says Jonathan Saunders.
The items to spark a global frenzy, create waiting lists and launch a thousand copycats over the last year.
Kenzo Tiger sweatshirt (pictured), £182, matchesfashion.com
Valentino Rockstud clutch, £720, net-a-porter.com
Chanel Boy bag, £1,580, 020-7493 5040
Isabel Marant Bekket sneakers, £395, selfridges.com
Mulberry Willow bag, £1,500, mulberry.com
Alongside the designers themselves, there sits a group of visionaries who hold the ability to influence and reset the eye of the whole industry – and sometimes the world to boot. They are the ones who translate visions into concepts, shows and shoots; the stylists, photographers and set designers who are responsible for creating a fantasy world to inhabit, albeit briefly, on the pages of a magazine. “Grace Coddington is so innovative and has such presence here,” Jonathan Saunders said of US Vogue’s infamous creative director, whose fabulously ostentatious shoots regularly reach legendary status. And of hyper-prolific photography duo Mert & Marcus, he said – in awe: “The amount of work they’ve done is insane!”
Creative director at US Vogue (pictured), released her iconic autobiography Grace: A Memoir in November 2012. “Grace has to be on the list because of her consistent, extraordinary vision,” says Alexandra Fullerton.
ALEXANDRE DE BETAK
Renowned for his spectacular fashion show sets, De Betak has worked closely with Christian Dior, Tiffany & Co and Diane von Furstenberg to create some of the most memorable visions in fashion history.
The Leeds-born stylist started out at Dazed & Confused in 1991 and now, as editor-in-chief of LOVE magazine, she continues to push boundaries to ensure her status as leader of the creative pack.
MERT ALAS and MARCUS PIGGOTT
This pair of photographers have worked together since 1995, shooting ultra-glossy campaigns for Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy and working with Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham and Madonna.
Some fashion writers can create trends and clear shelves. Blogger Susie Lau, AKA Susie Bubble, Tim Blanks (editor atlarge, style.com), founder of The Business Of Fashion Imran Amed, fashion news director at US Vogue Mark Holgate and Suzy Menkes (fashion editor for the International Herald Tribune) are our choices.
Some people’s looks will repeatedly end up on inspiration moodboards in design and buying offices across the world. Our winners are the individuals with personal style that inspires and influences the whole industry, who have built lasting relationships with designers and brands.
“Alison (pictured) ends up on moodboards – she’s so street, so inspiring and just so cool. Cooler than Anna Dello Russo!” Laura Bailey, model.
“Florence’s unusual style makes her such a unique muse. Someone different from the rest.” Alexandra Fullerton, fashion director, Stylist.
“ Tilda Swinton is just so NOW!” Imran Amed, founder and editor of The Business Of Fashion.
“Alexa definitely belongs in the muses category – she promotes things just by wearing them.” Jonathan Saunders, designer.
Individuals who sell products, inspire lust, create a mood and influence our outfits in a way no others can. Our winners are established on the international circuit and combine cool caché with commercial clout.
Horse-riding London girl Edie Campbell has become the face of a new wave of indie Brit models. After being photographed by Mario Testino in 2006 for a shoot celebrating young Londoners he used her in a Burberry campaign with Kate Moss the same year. She featured on the cover of British Vogue’s April 2013 issue, drawing comparisons to iconic Sixties model Penelope Tree and closed the Chanel 2012 Couture show as the bride.
The name on everyone’s lips for the past 12 months, Cara Delevingne’s strong-browed beauty, killer catwalk appeal and endearing personality have won the hearts of the industry and earned her key spots on every catwalk show worth watching as well as nearly 757,000 followers on Twitter, 1.6 million followers on Instagram and Model of The Year in November at the 2012 British Fashion Awards in London.
The Puerto Rican model and former Stylist cover girl Joan Smalls is a tour de force on the catwalk. Her inimitable look has earned her incredible campaigns such as Fendi a/w 2012 and Chanel s/s 2012, as well as working with everyone from Versace to Givenchy. Ranked number one on models.com since September 2012, Ruth Chapman succinctly summed up her global dominance: “Joan Smalls is just so international.
‘The Body’, ‘The Panther’ or simply Karlie, this Chicagoborn ex-dancer has the fashion and commercial world in her thrall, a perfect candidate for a category which Saunders declared “all about kudos and financial clout.” As well as having s/s 2012 campaigns for Elie Saab and Oscar de la Renta under her belt, she was awarded the honour of an Angel contract, twirling down the runway at the spectacle that is the Victoria’s Secret show once a year.
PEOPLE WHO DRESS US
Meet the women who decide what the world wears. They’re the missing link between the catwalks and what consumers actually buy. They instinctively understand their customers’ spending habits and tastes, and translate their own aesthetic into sales with global influence /// Browns was the first UK store to buy John Galliano, Christopher Kane and Alexander McQueen – founder and owner Joan ‘mrs b’ Burstein is the visionary who was at the vanguard of each label’s launch /// Ruth Chapman, joint CEO of matchesfashion.com, opened her first boutique in 1990 with her husband Tom and now has 14 stores in London and a website shipping to over 200 countries /// Creative director of J Crew, Jenna Lyons is as renowned for her personal style as she is for transforming the preppy American label into a must-wear brand /// Net-A-Porter’s fashion director Holli Rogers is at the helm of each season’s spot-on buy. “She knows what we want to wear before we do,” says Caroline Issa /// Linda Fargo is senior vice president of US retailer Bergdorf Goodman, one of the most influential luxury goods retailers. Her seasonal edits have helped the company reach a net worth of $500million.
Our winners share an approach to design that has elevated them to super status over the last year.
Creative director Raf Simons has re-invigorated the brand with his use of traditional Dior classics – and received rave reviews.
Founded in 1856, Burberry is now moving its menswear show to London this summer in line with the women’s Prorsum show.
SAINT LAURENT PARIS
When new creative director Hedi Slimane changed the brand name, “it was such a confident move it was incredible,” says Imran Amed.
Not just Prada’s younger sister, Miu Miu’s pop-up member’s only club in London and short films last year were cutting-edge.
In 2012, Stella McCartney OBE designed the Team GB Olympics kit and won Designer Of The Year at the British Fashion Awards.
The following forward-thinking names all made our panellists stop in their tracks. By redefining the way the industry works or looks through sheer dynamism, this category celebrates all that is new and groundbreaking over the past 12 months.
The director of the fashion MA at Central Saint Martins (pictured) won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the BFAs in 2012 and turns out the best names in British fashion from Stella McCartney to Christopher Kane.
The founder of Fashion East, as a showcasing initiative for London’s design talent, showed foresight in championing designers such as Simone Rocha who has really come to the fore this year.
Designer Bruno Pieters launched his own sharply tailored label Honest By in 2012. Caroline Issa is a huge fan, “There’s total transparency on the pricing structure. It’s a revolutionary way of selling luxury.”
Co-founder and general manager of micro-video Twitter platform Vine, Hofmann has hit the nail on the head in terms of what people want to share now. “It’s amazing!” enthused Imran Amed.