4 Iconic Women Blended Readers Should Keep in Mind
BY GIULIA BALDINI
If you think about it, fashion is a form of art at all its effects. There are drawings, drafts, designs, and some modeling processes. Despite the huge variety of actions that are around a piece of clothing, fashion has just taken off its liberal, free, and easy-going side.
More and more trends are being invented, showed off, and owned by different people with diverse backgrounds. Variety has become the key to rendering fashion as an inclusive and cosmopolitan artistic expression. However, fashion wasn't always a free form of expression. Not too long ago, trousers were not found in a woman's wardrobe. There was no such piece like the little-black-dress for any casual or formal occasion. No dark-skinned body could be seen walking down a runway nor a curvy figure considered to be a fashion role model. To celebrate Women's History Month, Blended has highlighted talented women who have made a contribution to the fashion world, through their work, looks, and tenacity.
1. Coco Chanel
"Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions."
Through her hard-working and tough personality, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel introduced the ordinary world to the art of fashion. As the epitome of the modern woman, she was able to embrace and incorporate most of the needs women were lacking back in the early twentieth century. Inspired by the rigidity of her times and the atmosphere of an old-conservative France, she took the chance to make changes. Both her pragmatism and creativity were the essential keys that led her name into the fashion field.
She was the author of one of the most famous, sensual, and refined fragrances, Chanel N°5. She was the one who made tweed jackets glamorous, with those big golden buttons and marked trims in plain view. She saw such a common fabric like jersey and transformed it into a noble textile.
Coco Chanel was a feminist in her own way and a woman of multiple duplicity: minimal and accessorial, monochrome and sparkling, avantgarde and classy.
2. Audrey Hepburn
"The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair."
The iconic lady behind those huge dark sunglasses, holding a cup of coffee, and a piece of pastry, Breakfast at Tiffany's. The shy girl wearing colorful sundresses and pastel costumes in Paris on a modeling set, Funny Face. Audrey Hepburn, one of the most gracious and finest women to ever exist in Hollywood.
Maybe she was not the best person to be under the spotlight, but her presence made such a revolution in the fashion world. Her lifelong friendship with stylist Hubert Givenchy (1927-2018) made her the perfect mannequin to display tons of the French designer's clothes, including the memorable little black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's. During her life she supported her friend, Givenchy, whose works and ideas were soon followed and well-received all over the world.
An introvert human being, who appreciated elegance with humility and admiration. The candid young woman wearing a long, bright dress standing between Mr. Bogart and Mr. Holden. The hopeless, well-dressed romantic next to charming Irish actor Peter O'Toole. That was Audrey Hepburn and her contribution as a fashionista.
3. Winnie Harlow
"The most liberating thing is being able to just simply be myself and show the fashion industry that beauty can come in many forms."
Once heavily mocked and criticized for her rare skin complexion, vitiligo, Winnie Harlow has definitely won her battle against her haters by becoming one of the most influential women in the fashion industry. The Canadian model has, in fact, been a part of several campaigns and fashion shows for major brands like Desigual and Marc Jacobs.
There are a distinct number of models whose physical features appear to be both unique and very rare to find. That happened to Victoria Secret model Lais Ribeiro, not considered "curvy" enough to walk in a fashion show, or Greek model Sophia Hadjipanteli with her extremely bushy eyebrows.
Along with Winnie, there are other individuals whose bodies and personalities have broken the strict boundaries of perfection, like Madeline Stuart and Ashley Graham. Diversity is becoming the prominent element in the fashion industry, "...but still needs to accept various forms of beauty as a standard, as opposed to an occurrence now and then," as Winnie states in a CNN interview.
4. Iskra Lawrence
"Watch your life positively grow when you give up the pursuit of perfection, because the real beauty ideal is being imperfectly you."
Body positivity activist and professional model, Iskra Lawrence proudly shows off her femininity through her kind words and sensational body. Her uplifting speeches about body positivity have incredibly raised awareness on the matter, especially when it comes to eating disorders and self-esteem education. As an Aerie ambassador, she was the founder of the #everyBODYisbeautiful project, a social media campaign aimed to recognize the diversity and the different varieties of bodies around the world, acknowledging all their beautiful and most unique sides.
She has also created a health and lifestyle program called Everybody with Iskra, with which subscribers are able to find specific activities and meals in order to keep on track for a suitable and healthy routine.
After years of being rejected by fashion and modeling agencies due to her body shape and size, Iskra has entered in that same world with a more firm and noble attitude, which inspires lots of young audiences who may be grappling with the insecurities about their own bodies.
Most of the time, the fashion industry is seen as an inconceivable field to change or enter in. Like with anything in life, there are those who make it and others who have to struggle more in order to become part of the establishment. Fashion is one of the few industries where every move that is made is extremely challenging. However, fashion has modified its standards during the last few decades, by being more open-minded. Nowadays, fashion tries more than ever to keep up with the times and the necessities to fulfill for the consumers, likewise did Coco Chanel with her female audience back in the old world and century. Fashion artists and stylists inspire each other, they build constructive support among their community and other artists as well. A little bit like Audrey and Hubert. Members in the fashion community are gaining confidence in representing more and more diversity, just like what happened to Winnie Harlow. Lastly, but definitely not least, people are starting to be aware of the personal health aspect which lies underneath and beyond any piece of clothing, as Iskra Lawrence shows.
Respectable fashion is an expression of art, where lines, shapes, and colors emphasize the beauty of a person, by making him or her at ease with themselves, pleasing the eyes of the observer, and making a contribution to the arts in general. These women were able to or continue to create this beautiful form of the fashion art.
Lead Image Credit: Nicholle Kobi / Instagram