Celebrate Women’s History Month with this look at twelve designers who helm the hottest fashion houses.
Since the days of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, women who aspire to fashion design bring a unique vision into ateliers and workrooms – a mindset rooted not only in revolutionizing style codes for their gender, but also often woven through a thread of transforming fashion via their personal experiences.
With March designated as Women’s History Month, it’s an ideal time to look at today’s most noteworthy designers – the women who are elevating luxury fashion with aesthetics that are artful or practical, modernist or rooted in tradition and heritage, and often some beautiful blend of these ideas.
Check out this curated selection of the women who are crafting some of today’s most sought-after style, together with pieces available from their current collections.
This French-born designer previously oversaw the collections for the Olsen twins’ highly popular label, The Row, and honed her skills at Celine and Maison Martin Margiela before joining Hermès as its artistic director of the women’s collections in 2014. Vanhee-Cybulski has done a masterful job at blending modern design with elements rooted in the house’s DNA, from playful takes on silkscreen details to leatherwork that artfully trims dresses and other ready to wear.
The daughter of a famed diamond dealer, Valerie Messika was determined to forge her own path in the jewelry industry, and today her Paris-based house has created jewels worn by everyone from Beyoncé to Kate Moss and Kendall Jenner, who not only appears in Messika’s latest campaign, she also collaborated with the designer on a collection. Crafted in 18-karat gold and embellished with diamonds or stones like malachite and mother of pearl, Messika’s easy elegance enhances their versatility, equally perfect for brunch with denim and a crisp white shirt or with a chic black sheath at dinner.
One of the individuals behind the success of Cartier's watch division is Marie-Laure Cérède. Having started her career at Cartier, she returned to the French jeweler in October 2016 as the Deputy Creative Director of Watchmaking. Cérède has unveiled new designs by the nearly 175-year-old brand, which have captured the likes of First Lady Michelle Obama and supermodel Bella Hadid. When asked by Vogue how she honors the Maison’s heritage, she responded, “Looking at the archives and being inspired by them is part of our daily lives…whenever we launch an Icon [a collection that brings together Cartier’s most enduring designs], we look at how we can improve it, from the technical components to the sustainability standards.”
British-born Sandra Choi has been the creative director of Jimmy Choo since the brand launched in 1996, so while the brand was named for her uncle – famed London couture shoemaker Jimmy Choo – make no mistake: what you love about the brand is all about Choi and her glamorous designs. A-list actresses and musicians agree, with everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Nicki Minaj, Kristin Davis and West Side Story Oscar nominee Ariana DeBose wearing Jimmy Choo on red carpets, while Beyoncé recently was seen wearing the popular Cass pump in neon pink in an Instagram post.
A true icon within the fashion community, Carolina Herrera paved the way to her global acclaim, overcoming barriers as a woman and a Latina. Her designs embody an elegance that captivates every runway. She’s known for dressing the First Ladies of the United States, including Jackie Onassis, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama, in regal gowns – and those are just a few of the powerhouse women who have worn her dresses throughout history
Her eponymous label has always exuded a sense of effortless style tinged with a touch of glam, and is also often inspired by Tory Burch’s love of travel. But for Spring 2022, Burch explored an undeniable spirit of Americana, most notably the designs of sportwear visionary Claire McCardell. The inspiration makes sense, because Burch loves to highlight amazing women in her business, her foundation and in her designs. Her signature Lee Radziwill bag, named for the American socialite and younger sister of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, is a terrific example of a Burch design that’s equal parts romantic inspiration and modern style.
Raised in Morocco before moving to Paris, where she founded her own label, Judith Milgrom is one-half of the hottest sister act in European fashion (more on that in a moment). With Maje, Milgrom combines an unabashed feminine aesthetic with bright colors and polished details perfect for work or play. She dubbed her Spring 2022 collection #FreeSpirit, and that’s evident in the undeniably pretty palette and details that range from floral prints and crochet weaves with vintage-inspired tweed.
Chief in the did-you-know department: Judith Milgrom and Sandro founder and artistic director Evelyne Chetrite are sisters, having both been raised in Rabat, Morocco as children before their later education in Paris. It always seemed inevitable that the fashion-obsessed siblings would end up in fashion, though it’s notable that each brings a decidedly individualist attitude toward her respective label: While Maje is more bohemian in spirit, Sandro is decidedly polished and tailored — Left Bank vs. Right Bank, as it were. This season Chetrite explores the crisp lines she loves through a buoyant color palette, with stripes playing a key role, from pinstriped suiting with only a hint of masculine detail to a stunner of a sleeveless dress in shades of denim blue, nutmeg and marigold.
After discovering an old trunk filled to the brim with white shirts, Anne Fontaine – and her husband, Ari Zlotkin – decided to take over his family's clothing business in France. At just 22, she launched Anne Fontaine and its first collection, creating an entire feminine universe around the white shirt – a staple around which she’s since built an entire brand with ready-to-wear and accessories. Along with her commercial activities, Anne has made a commitment to ecological causes; mainly, the protection of the Brazilian forest through the creation of the Anne Fontaine Foundation in 2011.
The founder and chief creative officer of her namesake, Los Angeles-based fashion brand, Anine Bing built a global fashion house focused on everyday wardrobe essentials and investment pieces for modern women seeking a timeless yet rebellious approach to style. The blogger and former model and singer launched the brand with her husband in the garage of their Silver Lake home in downtown L.A. back in 2012. Inspired by Scandinavian simplicity and American energy, Anine Bing designs are thoughtfully sourced from the highest quality fabrications and materials, including leather, silk, linen, cashmere and 14k gold.
Camilla Franks is one of Australia’s leading fashion designers and is celebrated globally for her artistic, innovative and intricate designs that weave in stories from her travels abroad and imaginative escapism. Launching her first collection at Australian Fashion Week in 2004, Camilla’s first fashion show was designed to disrupt the industry. With no theatrics spared, she created, choreographed and directed a fashion opera, and debuted the brand at the Intercontinental Sydney. It set the scene for everything to come. The brand has since grown into a global print house with a unique aesthetic that’s instantly recognizable. Encompassing her love of travel, Camilla immerses herself in faraway worlds to inspire each limited-edition collection and create pieces that are treasured by collectors.
Longchamp artistic director Sophie Delafontaine – the daughter of Philippe Cassegrain (son of Longchamp’s founder) – “has been at the helm of Longchamp for decades, reimagining pieces from an archive that spans more than 70 years each season,” according to Vogue UK.
For more forward-thinking fashion that celebrates women in design during Women’s History Month, explore the boutiques at Aventura Mall; call (305) 935-1110 for information or log on to aventuramall.com