Fashion is constantly evolving and we are never far away from the latest celebrity or influencer's style choices impacting our must have looks. But when it comes to inspiration, there is no better place to explore than the past, and the fashion icons who helped shape the clothes we love today.
Here I explore five of the most influential and important vintage fashion icons throughout the decades and take a closer look at their most recognisable and celebrated looks.
Born in 1906, Josephine Baker was a dancer, jazz singer and civil rights activist with an incredible flair. She epitomised Avant Garde and in the fashion world she could be regarded as the Lady Gaga of the 1920s and 30s. From sparkling bikinis to huge floral accessories and oversized jewellery; Baker was always very extra and out of the box with her style and her audience loved it. Not only did she wear incredible vintage accessories and beautiful jewels, she wore a bold and unshakeable confidence that we can all learn a lesson from; unapologetic in her bold choices with a total zest for life.
Another iconic woman who was brimming with confidence was of the course the amazing Brigitte Bardot. Her effortlessly chic style was enhanced by the fact that she wasn't afraid to be sexy, from her tousled hair to her revealing and figure hugging outfits. Brigitte was famous for her off-the-shoulder style tops that we still wear today - literally known as the Bardot neckline.
A successful actress, she appeared in over 40 films in her lifetime and was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time. It is documented that John Lennon actually classed her as the 'perfect woman' in the 1960s and many say the term 'sex kitten' was invented just for her. This French bombshell most certainly had that je ne sais quoi.
We actually owe a lot to the late great Katharine Hepburn. She really pushed boundaries in the 1930s by wearing trousers on screen, paving the way for menswear inspired tailored looks to become mainstream in women's fashion for decades to come. Hepburn was a real independent spirit and wanted fashion on her own terms, wearing much more casual outfits and less make up than her Hollywood peers. She totally contradicted what it meant to be a starlet of the time but transformed the whole pathway of female fashion for future generations.
Elizabeth Taylor's style was ultra glam, super feminine and totally fearless. Nothing was over the top, from plunging necklines and feather boas to sparkling headpieces and oversized fur wraps. She famously sported Christian Dior's New Look of the 1950s, wearing tiny nipped in waists and full expanding skirts. Taylor was also famous for her love of high octane jewellery, this woman was the queen of accessorising! This glamorous star of stage and screen would rarely be seen without her diamonds and pearls.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jackie Kennedy, or Jackie O as she is most commonly referred to, really grabbed the attention of the public in the 50s and 60s with her chic and simple fashion sense. She wore boxy suits by the lines of Chanel and was the queen of the pill-box hat and oversized sunglasses. She had an unprecedented skill of looking equally sophisticated and stylish whether she was wearing a full length ball gown and satin gloves, or a simple turtleneck jumper and pair of trousers.
Of course, all these women offered much more than simply fashion to the world and each has made history in their own right. But when it comes to the clothes and accessories we have worn through the decades and those we still buy and wear today. They really are total icons. Ladies, we salute you.
Until next time
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