From Coco Chanel’s popularization of the suit to Christian Dior’s full-skirted New Look, the ongoing evolution of fashion has existed largely on the innovations of the visionaries. For those creative and revolutionary enough to concoct an idea backed up only by their own convictions, some have managed not only to enter the mainstream of fashion but be embraced wholeheartedly by its capriciousness.
While many designers stay within the familiar bounds of what’s been deemed marketable and find their client base in clothing that is wearable and flattering, there are other designers whose nearly surrealistic convictions have put them a little outside of the mainstream. Though a thick line exists between ready-to-wear and the avant-garde, a few designers have opted to leave their clothing with the mark of something a bit more extraordinary.
Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf have made art and the artifice of the fashion world a source of inspiration, creating clothing and runway shows that were not necessarily appreciated or understood, while Vivienne Westwood, a designer who has been in the business for more than four decades, is largely responsible for the development of punk fashion, which is nearly inseparable from its music. Whether they’ve managed to bridge the gap between art and life in the present or changed the shape of fashion’s future possibilities, the following have defined their aesthetic and stood out as the singular purveyors of their own distinct ideas.