A fashion icon is someone that others look up to and admire, someone with a unique and personal style. They often have some kind of celebrity status, so their fashion choices are broadcasted around the world by various forms of media, catching plenty of attention. This status can come about in a number of ways, for example; through being a celebrity, a political figure or even a popular blogger. Without a wide reaching influence it can be hard for an individual to make an impact on the general public with their fashion choices. An icon may have a signature look that is classic and timeless, kooky and out there, or dictated by current trends, showing runway clothes can be wearable. Whatever their distinctive style, a fashion icon has to be able to pull off their looks with aplomb.
Models are often up to date with the latest trends and in the know when it comes to the next big thing in the world of fashion, making them prime candidates for the role of a fashion icon. There have been some who have stood the test of time, such as Kate Moss, whose effortless style is present in her everyday life, not just when she is working. Other models have come in and out of favour over the years, their time as an admired fashion ambassador often corresponding with the limited span of a models career, but names like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell are still widely known and are still able to conjure images of style on and off the catwalk.
Another example where exposure is a major factor in the making of a style icon is in the case of presenters and the stars of reality shows. For example, both Alexa Chung and Olivia Palermo still get lots of attention and coverage in magazines concerning the clothes they wear, having come into the public eye through appearing on television. They are now probably more well known for making appearances at fashion week and celebrity parties, and the outfits that they wear to attend these events. In some ways their style icon status has eclipsed their original careers, although it also benefits some aspects of their work life.
Another method through which a style icon can be born, one that is especially popular at the moment, is through being a political wife. There have been a few first ladies whose fashion choices have become iconic, such as Jackie O, famous for her shift dresses, pill box hats and classic accessories in the sixties, and more recently Michelle Obama, who is known to fly the flag for American fashion houses and turns out impeccable looks for any occasion. Also, Royal women receive very similar treatment; Princess Diana’s style was idolised at one time, in much the same way that Kate Middleton’s is now. It is often the case that if Kate or Michelle are seen wearing a particular piece, it will quickly reach the top of peoples must have lists. In many cases, their choices sell out within hours of them appearing in them, making these ladies invaluable to the fashion industry.
Some popular icons in today’s society are pop stars, most likely because they are accessible role models to young people. Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are all good examples. Whilst Rihanna’s style may be the most desirable and replicable, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga both shock with their looks. Those with more outrageous styles also earn their own portion of attention, and this is the case with celebrities like Solange Knowles, Anna Dello Russo and Tilda Swinton, They all have a distinctive style that sets them apart from the crowd, each of them daring for their own reasons. Tilda Swinton has very striking features and often wears masculine clothing that defies convention and flatters her looks, Solange uses bright colours, playful combinations and her natural Afro hair to make a statement and Anna Dello Russo simply uses crazy couture creations to make her mark on the fashion world. Chloe Sevingy and Daphne Guinness also have a quirky and often androgynous style, that has gained them lots of fans in the fashion world.
The kind of people viewed as fashion icons has changed considerably over time, depending on the style of the time. People who have figured largely throughout history include Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Princess Diana, although there are many more. These women either completely embodied the look popular during a particular era, or they ushered in a new style and defined that particular trend. For instance, Twiggy’s look revolutionised the modelling world, whereas Marilyn Monroe’s look encapsulated everything that was in favour at the time.
Although through taking inspiration from the wardrobes of fashion icons people are able to develop their own style, it is not necessary to base your own wardrobe, hairstyle, make up etc. on anyone else’s, or to measure your appearance against others. The best thing to take from these people is that trailblazing your own style is the best way to look good and get noticed. It is often a good idea to find your own, personal icons who you particularly admire, as this can guide you to develop a fashion sense that will last you a long time. Young or old, choose someone whose choices in clothing that you wish to emulate, or just go it alone, strike out and believe in your own tastes to guide you.