Possibly the chicest women ever. Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, re-wrote the book on fashion. She ripped the linings out of jackets, ran them up in jersey (back then considered a 'poor' fabric) and teamed them with slim-fitting skirts - not quite Mary Quant minis but shorter than anything before. Or boyish trousers. She believed women could be comfortable and elegant if they would only keep it simple. Many thought Coco was a bit 'loco' because she only wore black or navy, a string of pearls, red lipstick and a cloche hat pulled down over her bobbed hairdo. She proved critics wrong, pooling her talents as a seamstress and distilling her philosophy into the first global fashion brand responsible for a string of firsts including the little black dress (1926) and mass produced perfume (Chanel No 5 in 1921). Next year two movies are due out based on her rags to riches life. One will star Audrey Tautou the other Demi Moore.
No one ever suited androgyny more or wore it better than Dietrich (not even Madonna). She was acutely aware of image. Although she towered over most pint-sized actresses she felt her legs weren't great so came up with a style that would make her stand out and keep her pins hidden. When she first appeared in a severe mannish suit and beret, Paris society booed her - then they copied her. Wide shouldered masculine suits became a signature, along with full-on almost drag queen make-up. Here was a woman being a man being a woman. . "Her masculinity appeals to women and her sexuality to men," the British theatre critic, Kenneth Tynan, once said. Feather boas, plucked eyebrows, lip gloss, back satin and sweeping floor length coats are still considered ‘very Marlene'.
Trend alert: Woman in trousers! Headstrong Hepburn scandalised 1930s Hollywood by wearing what was considered shocking! Immoral even! She made boy-girl chic look just so incredible it caught on, giving women a fashion option other than cleavage, curves and spangly frocks. "Stockings are the invention of the Devil," roared the feisty actress and refused to wear them. She didn't just kick start the trouser gig, she became a role model for independent women proving you could be confident and individual with your style. She hated red carpet shenanigans and never went to award shows despite winning Best Actress Oscar four times.
She wasn't a conventional beauty but her impeccable dress sense more than made up for it. Wallis Simpson got it in the neck for causing constitutional crises by making the heir to the throne abdicate. Perhaps the dapper Duke felt he had met his match - style-wise - with the thrice-divorced, raven-haired American socialite who, like him, followed fashion ferociously. Throughout each decade Wallis carefully adapted the silhouette of the day to suit her birdlike frame and understated, crucially elegant look. She wore Dior's New Look in the early '50s. In the '60s she moved on to A-line dresses with cut-outs. In the '70s she somehow made bejewelled kaftans and bell-bottoms look chic. Edward, showered Wallis with money and jewels to make up for her lack of title.
The sunglasses, the bags, the hair! First you think. Wow, she's pretty! Then, it clicks. It's Jackie O, the all-time trendsetter. Where to start with this style icon? Let's go for the most made-in-heaven fashion union ever, the pastel geometric Oleg Cassini dresses and pillbox hats worn during her First Lady era. But you know even when she became Mrs Onassis in 1968, her gypsy skirts, kaftans, tight white jeans and oversize sunglasses were really cool too. It wasn't what she wore but how she wore it: matchy-matchy single colour schemes, paired down glamour, always groomed, teaming Dior or Givenchy bottom-halves with simple black turtle-necks, white fitted T-shirts (latterly from Gap) and priceless jewels. Long before it became fashionable she was wearing jeans with Chanel jackets and picking out new names like Lilly Pulitzer and Jack Rogers sandals, which went straight on the fashion radar. She also put us all onto accessories.
She had ‘it'. Everything. All-American beauty, model proportions, great movie roles, glacial sex appeal, fairytale marriage to Prince of a minor monarchy and a Hermès bag named after her. But most of all she had style. Whatever she wore both on and off-screen, she adapted to her own unique look - uptown preppy-meets-smouldering siren. Kelly, a former model, loved clothes. Director Alfred Hitchcock hired Edith Head, Hollywood's most elite costume designer, to lure her away from doing a Broadway show playing opposite Marlon Brando, in order to star in Rear Window. Best Kelly onscreen fashion moments include The Philadelphia Story, Mogambo, and To Catch A Thief. And she never looked less than perfect off screen wearing casual Dior white shirt and jodhpurs or Chanel twinset and suit. The Hermès Kelly bag still has a legendary waiting list five decades on. Mika sang a song about her. Was there was ever a more apt title than, her serene highness Princess Grace? Just one: fashion icon.
7. Bianca Jagger
The beautiful Nicaraguan human rights campaigner is still one of, if not the most stylish women alive. During the 1970s and early '80s, Bianca was the pin-up girl of the jet-set, working the rock chick androgyny look with her floppy hat, skinny mannish jackets and boot-cut flares. She famously rode a white horse to the trendy nightclub Studio 54 (she was wearing Halston) for her 30th birthday in 1977 but is most famous for the ivory Yves Saint Laurent trouser suit she wore to marry Mick Jagger, in St Tropez, in 1971. Without a bra. "Everyone thinks I was making a deliberate fashion statement by wearing the jacket without a shirt, but they didn't realise I was pregnant with Jade (Jagger, the jewellery designer). The shirt was too tight."
Punk was grubby. All that body piercing, bondage and bad DIY attempts with safety pins stopped it ever becoming a serious fashion movement. Perhaps if it had ever had a poster girl like Debbie Harry music history would have been different? Instead, Harry adapted her band - and wardrobe -to fit an emerging genre known as new wave. Although Harry looked a bit top shelf with her bleached hair, black roots and sexy pout, her gritty style which put a glamorous spin on artsy New York streetwear caught the pointy end of the zeitgeist. Result? She became a fashion as well as music pin-up kick-starting the pop video genre. Harry's tough girl femininity and fashion forward look has not dated.
This smouldering sex kitten is considered the most stylish woman in fashion. Being editor of French Vogue she gets first pick of the best designer gear but not before giving it a bit of a seeing to, Roitfeld-style. Famous for flashing flesh (cleavage/legs), wearing staggeringly high heels (always), smoky eye make-up and an Iggy Pop hairdo, she invented luxe grunge glamour. Whatever label she might be wearing you are struck by her presence, which is why she is the highest paid stylist in the world. Whether she's wearing a yeti coat sitting front row of Givenchy couture, or a Balmain lace micro dress backstage she looks fabulous. Can you believe she is 54? Yes, if you look at her resume. She was behind those awesome Gucci campaigns photographed by Mario Testino when Tom Ford was designer. Is Carine being groomed for Anna Wintour's job at American Vogue?
Audrey is just so chic.Her minimal taste made her one of the most stylish women ever existed.She was always wearing simple dresses,trousers and blouses combined with the simpliest accessories.With the roles she played in movies she baceme so famous that many girls till today want to look like her.The elegant Audrey was the complete opposite of some of her contemporaries as Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor, because, by fifties standards, she was too tall and too skinny.Her look was entirely original and rather than creating false curves, her clothes accentuated her slenderness. Audrey was a captivating combination of glamour and sophistication with inocence and fragility.Audrey was a fashion icon of the both Fifties and Sixties decade and still she inspires us with her stylish fashion choices.