Influence is indirect. It is an intangible force with tangible results. To determine today who will set the trends of tomorrow is a daunting task. For decades, publications and fashion insiders have tried to pinpoint to top power players in this global game. The criteria is vague, as it is hard to set a definition of what influence actually means. If influence is defined by money and a smart business scheme, then surely Bernard Arnault, owner of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, would be at the top of the list.
Master of a company that owns Dior, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Fendi and Donna Karan, he believed in reinventing established fashion houses by infusing them with fresh talent. Arnault placed Galliano at Givenchy, moved Galliano to Dior and then brought in the young McQueen to be the rising star in the Givenchy house.
But fashion is an ethereal form of art, and while money does make the world go â€˜round, influence may be defined by the most thought provoking, controversial and in some instances, down right disturbing designers.
Take Hussein Chalayan, the twice name British Designer of the Year. His designs, which can be based on experiments and even abstractions of existing items such as meteorological charts, are often minimal and elegant. Strongly moved by his childhood in Cyprus, he was surrounded by politics, philosophy and cultural prejudice. Chalayan has made wooden furniture which transforms itself into clothing; deconstructed traditional Kazakhstan costume into a mass of colored threads, and has shown models in stages of undress. Former designer for knitwear TSE and current designer for Asprey, Chalayan is complete individual who invents fashion.
Some may argue that it’s not the visionary designer, the brilliant business man, or the uncompromising fashion editor. But rather, the most influential fashion forces of the past decade are the muses: Kate Moss, Madonna, Sofia Coppola.
An unlikely model who is a universal icon, Moss embodies the concept of relaxed elegance. Galliano claims Moss is his Marilyn, and key pieces in his collections have been directly inspired by her. Kate has been known to pair cowboy boots with her Galliano couture. She wore a curly wig to a party and insiders predicts that the perm was making a come back. In 2005, she received the CFDA Award for Fashion Influence. It’s clear that no one in the world can put together an outfit like she can.
The Haute Historian is dedicated to exploring influential trends of the past that have resonance today. But what defines influence? Money? Power? Talent? Looks? The aforementioned criteria all play a role in the influencer game, but none are deemed more important than others.
time.com/time/europe, Time Magazine
observer.guardian.co.ukk, The London Observer
nymag.com/nymetro/shopping/fashion, New York Magazine