Designer News. A Changing of the Guard. Fashion No Longer Dominated by Men. Second City Style Fashion Blog

September 26, 2007 • Fashion


Angela Missoni, Cynthia Steffe

According to an article in today’s WWD, it looks like we are entering a golden age for women in fashion design. Look at the facts, two more women just landed top jobs at major Italian fashion
houses — Alessandra Facchinetti at Valentino and Christina Ortiz at
Salvatore Ferragamo — not to mention there are an impressive number of prominent
female-led brands on the Milan calendar this week, from Miuccia Prada
to Alberta Ferretti and Donatella Versace.

Floriane de Saint Pierre, who runs
Floriane de Saint Pierre and Associés, an executive search and
consulting firm, in Paris said, "in the early Nineties, the creative
directors of fashion houses were nearly all men. Michael Kors at Celine and Tom Ford at Gucci, who were
succeeded by Ivana Omazic and Frida Giannini."

Diane von Furstenberg, Miuccia Prada

is partly a result of the fact that in many fields now, women are being
recognized as being up to the top jobs," Donatella Versace said, "and
the worlds of banking and management are opening up to women at long
last. But in fashion, specifically, I think it points to an
understanding that women are instinctively in tune with the female

Observers say an intense focus on wearable,
figure-flattering clothes is among the reasons female designers have
recently made enormous strides — even if they have a long way to go in
such male-dominated fashion capitals as New York or Paris, not to
mention the executive suite.

Angela Missoni believes female designers take a different approach. "Men
design what they would wear if they were women and women are flattered
by the idea of wearing something a man would like them to wear," she
explained. "When I design, I always take into consideration the
practical aspects of wearing, for instance, a sheer dress or a very
deep neckline. So I always think what I would miss or need. I figure
out new solutions, linings, finishings.

"Women seem to know better what other women need, want to buy, like to wear," she continued.

As Diane von Furstenberg noted, "I think women designers have had a
huge influence on fashion — Madeleine Vionnet, Madame Grès, Elsa
Schiaparelli, Coco Chanel, Norma Kamali, Donna Karan, DVF — all
superinfluential. Women do not need muses…they are their own muses." Word.

Read "Standing Toe to Toe: More Female Designers Take Control in Fashion"

Photos: NYMag

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