These style icons inspired generations by expressing themselves through their fashion choices.
Although I am always on the lookout for current trends and where the industry is headed I must admit I get so much inspiration from the past. Our style icons from the last few generations set the pace and were the catalyst for many style staples we have today. Minimalist styles, maximalist styles, glam, androgyny, sex appeal; these icons did it first. Here are my top style influences from the last five decades.
WHY PRINCE IS A STYLE ICON: Sometimes scandalous, sometimes sophisticated, but always a Shining Star. His androgynous fashion-forward style inspired men and women to embrace their individuality and their Third Eye.
Prince Rogers Nelson known by his mononym Prince was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor. He produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince pioneered the "Minneapolis sound", a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, R&B and new wave-influenced generations to come.
WHY ELIZABETH IS A STYLE ICON: A timeless beauty! Taylor was recognized for her glamorous lifestyle, fashion, and distinctive violet eyes.
One of the world's most famous film stars, Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, was a noted British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen stars of Hollywood's Golden Age.
WHY EARTHA IS A STYLE ICON: Orson Welles once called her the "most exciting woman in the world". She never shied from animal print and her signature feminine and glamorous style personified the word “Fierce”.
Eartha Mae Kitt was an American singer, actress, dancer, and cabaret star. She was perhaps best known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 hit recordings of "C'est Si Bon" and the enduring Christmas novelty smash "Santa Baby". She took over the role of Catwoman for the third and final season of the 1960s Batman television series. She also voiced Yzma on Disney's The Emperor's New Groove and its television spinoff, The Emperor's New School, earning two Emmy Awards in the process, the second shortly before her death.
WHY WAS GRACE IS A STYLE ICON: She never failed to captivate a room with her androgynous looks and many talents. When you think of Grace you think risk, maximalism, and sheer power.
Beverly Grace Jones is a Jamaican singer, actress, and model. She was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica and when she was thirteen she moved to Syracuse, New York. At the start of her music career, Jones was a regular at New York's hottest '70s nightclub, STUDIO 54. Jones influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s and has been an inspiration for artists, including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Brazilian Girls, Nile Rodgers, Santigold, and Basement Jaxx.
WHY TWIGGY IS A STYLE ICON: In the mid 60's at 16 years of age, Twiggy became internationally known as the world's first supermodel, her photographic modeling success epitomizing her age.
Born Lesley Lawsonin north London, she was named "The Face of '66" by the Daily Express. Twiggy went on to become a successful actress in film, stage, and television, beginning her acting career by starring in Ken Russell's film "The Boyfriend", for which she won two Golden Globe awards; most promising newcomer and best actress in a musical. She has recorded many albums since.
WHY ANDRE IS A STYLE ICON: From woven hats and wraparound sunglasses to lederhosen and polka-dot bow ties, Andre’s style (like OutKast’s music) challenges the tradition it honors. Andre shows us getting dressed should be fun, not stressful.
André Lauren Benjamin better known by his stage name André 3000 (formerly known as André), is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor, best known for being part of hip-hop duo OutKast alongside fellow rapper Big Boi. As an actor, Benjamin has made appearances in a number of TV series and films, including Families, The Shield, Be Cool, Revolver, Semi-Pro, Four Brothers, and the leading role of Jimi Hendrix in All Is By My Side. In addition to music and acting, Benjamin has also been an active entrepreneur. In the spring of 2008, he launched a clothing line called Benjamin Bixby.
WHY DIANA IS A STYLE ICON: She is the original Queen of Glamour. When you think of the word "diva," she should be the first name that comes to mind. She favors a super feminine approach to beauty and fashion that's trendy and classic. Before our beloved Beyonce there was Diana!
Diana Ernestine Earle Ross is an American singer, actress and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, she rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown's most successful act and is to this day America's most successful vocal group. As part of the Supremes, Ross most notably rivaled the career of The Beatles in worldwide popularity, and their success made it possible for future African American R&B and soul acts to find mainstream success.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis
WHY IS JACKIE A STYLE ICON: She is the original White House Style Icon. From the signature pillbox hats and affection for Chanel suit to the billowy maxi dresses and menswear-inspired suit.
Jacqueline Lee or "Jackie-O" was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Five years later she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis; they remained married until his death in 1975. For the final two decades of her life, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had a career as a book editor. She is remembered for her contributions to the arts and preservation of historic architecture, elegance, and grace.
WHY IS AUDREY A STYLE ICON: The elegant black dress. The multi-strand pearl necklace. The long cigarette holder. The iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s look would stay in the hearts of fashion lovers for generations to come. It was like she wrote the book on minimalism making black on black and simple feminine styles the rule of thumb.
Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston, was a British actress and humanitarian. Recognized as a film and fashion icon, Hepburn was active during Hollywood's Golden Age. She was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest female screen legend in the history of American cinema and has been placed in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. A month later, Hepburn died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63.
WHY IS KIM A STYLE ICON: Lil' Kim’s style was revolutionary and daring. Lil’ Kim draped in fur and designer labels, rapped about sex, money, and fashion from behind a pair of Chanel sunglasses.
Kimberly Denise Jones is also a singer-songwriter, record producer, model, and actress. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, living much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home. In her teens, Kim would freestyle rap, heavily influenced by actress/singer Diana Ross, and fellow female hip-hop artists like MC Lyte and The Lady of Rage. She owned her sexuality unapologetically in bright, barely-there looks that catapulted her into style-icon status.
WHY IS MADONNA A STYLE ICON: The 80s Princess turned Industry Queen was a leader of her generation in fashion. She was always the spark of evolution in what was relevant at the time. Over her 30 year career, no other pop diva has reinvented her fashion image with the consistency and creativity of Madonna.
Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American singer-songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. One of the most prominent cultural icons for over three decades, she has achieved an unprecedented level of power and control for a woman in the entertainment industry. She attained immense popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery in her music videos, which became a fixture on MTV.
WHY IS MARILYN A STYLE ICON: America’s favorite pin-up doll. She was a true bombshell. Her looks always had a sex appeal with understated class. Her unforgettable white dress in the wind moment cemented her as the embodiment of femininity and glamour.
Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, she was an American actress, model, and singer, who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s and early 1960s. After spending much of her childhood in foster homes, Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946 with Twentieth Century-Fox. Her early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve (both 1950), drew attention. 1 in Film's Sexiest Women of All Time.
WHY IS DAVID A STYLE ICON: Dapper. Glam. Rule Breaker. Innovator. All synonymous with David and who he was in style. A fantastic beast that captivated all that were near because of his fearlessness to embrace fashion in all its forms.
David Robert Jones known by his stage name David Bowie was an English musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, and arranger. Bowie has been a major figure in the world of popular music for over four decades, and is renowned as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all time.
They are some of the most well-known risk takers, the innovators, and leaders of their time. I am both inspired and thankful that they walked so I can run. Haha. If I missed one of your favorites please comment below