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Fashion icons past and present

Vivien Leigh 1930's

vivien leigh

Born in India in 1913 Vivien Leigh (Vivian Mary Hartley) trained at RADA and married her second husband Lawrence Olivier in 1940.

American cinema was so influential that 1939's "Gone with the wind" "barbecue dress" for Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara was the most widely copied dress after the Duchess of Windsor's wedding costume, and Vogue credited the "Scarlett O'Hara" look with bringing full skirts worn over crinolines back into wedding fashion after a decade of sleek, figure-hugging styles.

Katharine Hepburn 1930's Shirts and Slacks

katherine hepburn

"I wear my sort of clothes to save me the trouble of deciding which clothes to wear."
Born in Connecticut May 1907, Katharine was born the daughter of a Doctor and a Suffragette. It may have been her mothers influence which led her to say "Stockings are an invention of the Devil". She defined her own masculine style of dress and claimed never to have owned a dress or skirt of her own.

Apparently, she walked around the studio in her underwear in the early 1930s when the costume department stole her slacks from her dressing room. She refused to put anything else on until they were returned.

She helped pave the way towards creating well-fitting menswear for women. A true trend setter rather than a follower of fashion.

Greta Garbo 1930's

greta garbo

Born on September 18, 1905 in Stockholm, Greta Garbo was an enigmatic superstar of silent films and early Hollywood "talkies" until her surprising retirement at age 36. Starting making films in the nineteen twenties she was out of the industry by 1941

Greta Garbo was irritated by the famous quote attributed to her, and reportedly told friends, "I never said, 'I want to be alone.' I only said, 'I want to be left alone.' There is a world of difference."

I would say that anyone who has fallen in love with that perfect pair of shoes only to be told " I am sorry madam, we only have those left in a size 9" will completely understand the difference Greta was talking about.

Audrey Hepburn 1950-60's

audrey hepburn

Born in Brussels in May 1929, the daughter of a wealthy English banker and a Dutch Baroness.

Minimal chic
Audrey Hepburn is associated with black, pearls, diamonds, and big dark sunglasses (a must for any contemporary woman), but let's not forget the long gloves either.

Where is her relevance today? Everywhere! A classic back shift dress is still known as the LBD (little black dress to those not in the know!). In 2006 her Givenchy LBD from Breakfast at Tiffany's sold for £467,000 in auction.

Sophia Loren 1950/60's
Sexy sophistication

sophia loren

Slightly risqué and overtly sexy in her style, Sophia has to be my favourite. Growing up, for me she represented elegance, sophistication and beauty without needing to utter a word. I never knew why, or even cared, she just was her - glamorous. I have just discovered that we even share our Birthday.

My favourite quote of hers is:
"A woman's dress should be like a barbed wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view"

Born in 1934, an illegitimate child brought up in the slums just outside Naples she became one of the major sex symbol of the sixties, competing with Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot.

Twiggy - The 1960s


Twiggy (born Lesley Hornby; 19 September 1949)
Skinny, minidresses, spider-lashes, beehives, blonde and doe eyed, who do you think of?...Twiggy of course, who was born in north London on September 19th, 1949. She was named "The Face of '66" by the Daily Express. In the mid 60's at 16 years of age, Twiggy became internationally known as the world's first supermodel, her photographic modelling success epitomising the age. Twiggy has managed to continue her career through from the sixties to right now, but she will really be remembered for her launch into the public eye in the 60's.

After four years of modeling, Twiggy retired, claiming "You can't be a clothes hanger for your entire life!" and went into acting.

Although, as we know she is still actively modelling today as a face of Marks and Spencers

Marilyn Monroe 1950s

marilyn monroe

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean Mortenson on June 1, 1926. Marilyn grew up in Foster homes and began her career as a model which led to a film contract in 1946.

Princess Diana 1980/90s
'Queen of fashion'


Doris Day 1950/60s

doris day

Grace Kelly 1950s

grace kelly

On November 12, 1929 Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Her Father was an Olympic Gold Medal winner, a self made millionaire and even worked for President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, as the National Director of Physical Fitness.

Grace Kelly was born in 1929, (wall street crash....

I would hate to become embroiled in an argument to say that Grace Kelly was not one of the most significant Icons of the 20th century. She has to be a natural beauty who lived every little girls dream to become a Princess.

Curvaceous and womanly (But still tiny!) Grace was quoted as saying
"Emancipation of women has made them lose their mystery" Definitely a woman I can relate to with this comment."AD

Elizabeth Taylor

elizabeth taylor

Who can dislike a woman who took so many opportunities to dress as the bride??

Jackie O 1960s
AKA Jackie Kennedy Onassis

jackie o

"She was a woman of confidence, focus, and passion, and it made her one of the world's greatest sources of inspiration and influence".

Prim and proper, miss conservative looking, was definitely one of the leading female Icons of the 20th century. A woman who knew how to wear hats so well, has to be admired.

Debbie Harry 1970s

debbie harry

Deborah Anne Harry (born July 1, 1945 in Miami) was known for her peroxide blonde hair, and as a recognisable icon of punk style. Debbie Harry was a symbol for micro-mini Sid-Vicious skirts, shredded tops, and leather.

Madonna -1980s


Lacy fingerless gloves epitomised the early 1980s, and all because of a young hopeful with songs called "like a virgin" and "holiday"

Madonna almost singlehandedly revolutionised the way women dressed in the early 80s. I think it's fair to say that most of us had lost interest by the time she had reached the "like a prayer" period, but we still recognise her as someone able to reinvent herself time after time.

Victoria Beckham 1990's/Noughties

victoria beckham

Like it or not, Posh is seen as a modern icon. Her influence that she has today cannot be ignored and you have to admire her chameleon spirit and the fact that she is willing to take fashion risks. How many women are prepared to risk the pixie haircut?

Kate Moss 1990's/Noughties

kate moss

Kate, born January 16th 1974 in Croydon, is known as much for her rock and roll lifestyle as her modelling career. Her style is copied the moment she sets foot outside her door. So much so, that Topshop took her on to design her own collection. Her designs saw queues outside the stores with items selling out instantly.

Moss ushered in the waif look in 1993. She has garnered many awards for her style including the Council of Fashion Designers of America's fashion influence award and a place on the Vanity Fair's international best-dressed list.

Dita Von Teese Noughties/Now

dita von teese

Born Heather Sweet from Michigan. on September 28, 1972, she adopted the name Dita as a tribute to silent film actress Dita Parlo, and her breakthrough 2002 Playboy cover gave her the last name "Von Teese".

Forget the burlesque side of her. Just think of the glamour, the tiny waist which appears unachievable for most of us is so alluring. She is credited for bringing back the glamour and allure of Old Hollywood stars. We think of black, glossy, groomed hair with a tiny waist and high heels that not only elongate the calf but also your soul. She has the maximum impact on both sexes when appearing in public.
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