What makes a style icon?

Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss, Lady GaGa, and Michelle Obama have all been branded one. But what does a supermodel living a rock n roll party lifestyle have in common with the First Lady? How can such a variety of women with such diverse styles and attitudes all be crowned a fashion icon that will ensure to go down in history for being the best dressed?

Celebrities are constantly abused and can be renowned for a lifetime for making a simple fashion faux pas, magazines take out full pages to go out of their way to bash those unlucky individuals that seem to be having a bad hair day but who decides what is completely outrageous one day and what is kooky but stylish the next? Does it all just depend on the time or maybe some celebrities just pull certain looks off better than others.
From the 1930’s style icons encompassed classic chic looks, among the Hollywood greats Greta Garbo and Audrey Hepburn became legendary for their sophisticated elegance, the simple timeless classics they donned years ago may seem bland in comparison to the outlandish creations of this era but these women will always be noted as having the perfect knack for knowing what to wear.

As we moved through the decades the fashion spotlight didn’t just shine on those on the big screen, a sophisticated presidential style was brought to light during the 1960’s. Wife to John F. Kennedy, Jackie O served as more than just the First Lady. Still considered a style icon she produced elegantly tailored pieces that merged both femininity and authority which have often be copied by the likes of similar women trying to make a good impression such as current First Lady Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton.

Sometimes the best style icons prove their worth through daring edgy looks and it’s not all about neutral colours, perfect hems and not having a hair out of place. The rise of the rock chic, Debbie Harry of Blondie brought her two-tone hair and glam-punk style to the forefront of iconic fashion which still inspires looks today. And of course Madonna who swapped undergarments for outer-garments and was crowed style queen of the eighties. A woman who is continuously reinventing herself and continuously having others reinventing her original creations, black lace, big hair and an abundance of accessories Madonna proved to be one of the most innovative and influential faces of the cultural world.

I think it certainly has a lot to do with who is wearing it, some people just exude a certain ‘cool’ that the rest of us just don’t. Half the time supermodel Kate Moss appears on a magazine page she looks as if she’s just stepped out of bed, messy tousled hair and just a flick of eyeliner to conclude her looks but it works so well for her and she pulls it off by still managing to look amazing every time. In the early stages of the 2000’s we are surrounded by a world of post-modernism and creative reinventions of past styles, we are presented with a mix match of wonderfully and often peculiar trends. I guess it just depends on whether fashion critics are feeling accepting that day or not, we often find items that were slated last year now this season’s must have. A style icon can be concluded from a variety of people whether they are elegant or edgy, a pop star or a governmental figure, history of fashion is forever changing, some trends just stick, others we often burn the evidence that it ever existed. A true fashion icon won’t just know what to wear, but how to

wear it, they know how to be creative and also stand out from the crowd even if they are wearing a simple LBD, having the right attitude and confidence goes hand in hand with the clothes they wear. We have come a long way from the simple elegance and glamour of Hepburn and Monroe and if a 21st century icon now consists of celebrities such as Lady GaGa being awarded for wearing attire made up of animal carcasses then I’m sure elegance is not on the cards for the future fashion world.


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