Fashion One’s Top 10 Designers of 2014 Revealed

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2014 has been an extraordinary year for fashion. From Spring/Summer to Fall/Winter, we were indulged with elegant, sophisticated and provocative trends. From adding a romantic touch to your summer's closet to making winter dressing sexy, designers have created the unimaginable, wearable. This year has been extraordinary for multiple reasons, but the main one is because of the genius and creativity of accomplished and talented designers.

From the most respected established figures in the industry to breakthrough names, we have listed out the outstanding designers that have been very busy not only creating collections but also creating headlines with their milestones and accomplishments.

In our list of the Top 10 Designers of 2014, we will guide you through the highlights of all that have happened in the past year in the world of the most noteworthy fashion masterminds.

Without much further ado, here are our selections for the Top 10 Designers of 2014 in no particular order:

The Fashion Legends

Vivienne Westwood

Known as the Godmother of Punk, Vivienne Westwood’s career has spanned for five decades. Vivienne often uses her catwalk shows, especially for her menswear and Red Label lines, as platforms to campaign about issues that she supports, such as climate change and Scottish independence. So it is no surprise that Vivienne was inducted into the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame at its ninth annual awards ceremony, which honours the most notable Scottish contributors to the industry. At 73 years old she is still going strong and is as busy as ever. In addition to tending to campaigning for all her causes and working on several side projects, she twice a year designs her menswear collections which show at Milan Men Fashion Week, her Red Label which is shown during London Fashion week, and the Gold Label ready-to-wear for Paris as well.

Diane von Fürstenberg

Recently being named the 68th Most Powerful Woman in the World as of 2014 by Forbes magazine, on October of this year Diane von Fürstenberg also received the Superstar Award at The Fashion Group International's Night of Stars annual ceremony, following in the footsteps of past winners such as Marc Jacobs and Carolina Herrera. Also in 2014, Diane once again hosted the CFDA Awards, published a book of memoirs, had her “Journey of a Dress” exhibition with 200 vintage and contemporary interpretations of her iconic wrap dress open in Los Angeles, and she announced the launch of a new fine and costume jewellery line in partnership with Haskell Jewels CEO, Frank Fialkoff. In addition, Diane joined the Ban Bossy campaign as spokesperson advocating leadership roles for girls. American actress and fashion icon Gwyneth Paltrow teamed up with the designer for a limited edition capsule collection that includes a mix of ready-to-wear designs and accessories sold through Paltrow's website, And to top things off, von Fürstenberg’s new television docu-series, which follows her as she searches for her fashion house’s first-ever Global Brand Ambassador, premiered in the fall.

Karl Lagerfeld

One of the fashion industry’s most decorated designers, Karl Lagerfeld, has been unstoppable year after year and 2014 was no different. This German born designer nowadays juggles countless projects as the creative force behind Chanel, Fendi and his own label and is easily one the most, if not the most, recognized and admired designers alive. This year alone, he was one of the six legends enlisted by Louis Vuitton for its ‘The Icon And The Iconoclasts’ project, teamed up with casino operator SJM to develop a Karl Lagerfeld Hotel which will open in 2017 in Macau, opened his first only men’s wear store in Paris just weeks after the inauguration of a shop in shop at the Galeries Lafayette, Lagerfeld inspired limited-edition Barbie by Mattel sold out within hours after going on sale, launched his own newspaper called 'The Karl Daily', and more. And these are actually just a few of Karl’s 2014 agenda items.

The Entrepreneurs

Fashion One’s Top 10 Designers of 2014 Revealed
“When it comes to the business of fashion, one of the biggest things to acknowledge is that fashion by nature is plugged in to the Zeitgeist and so it changes. As a designer you have to know how to balance the idea of newness with what the customer knows and loves. A change in fabric, a shift in proportion or a new color is the way to combine the tried and true with something new. For 2014, I think it was all about a softening, a little bit of romance and a sporty take on luxe—we live such a fast life, and there is so much going on in the world today, that your clothes need to keep up but they should also make you smile.” – Michael Kors

Michael Kors

In January 2014, Forbes reported that Kors had a personal fortune in excess of $1 billion dollars, making him the latest fashion industry billionaire, joining the ranks of Miuccia Prada, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani. However, all of this overwhelming success has not gone to Michael’s head. He is very well known for his charitable efforts as well. Aside from establishing a lifetime endowment scholarship at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the designer has dedicated countless hours and resources in 2013 and 2014 to promote the “Watch Hunger Stop” initiative, which helps raise awareness and funds to end world hunger, and to date, Kors has helped the United Nations World Food Programme deliver over five million meals to hungry children. Other of Michael’s noteworthy accomplishments this year include finally planning his first menswear store; renewing his global licensing agreement for watches and jewellery with Fossil Group; being nominated for the Style Coalition’s 5th Annual Fashion 2.0 Awards, launching his Michael Kors collection of cutting-edge tech accessories, and more. So it is clear why we cannot wait to see what 2015 have in store for this witty and multifaceted American designer.

Stella McCartney

As it is well-known, the designer is a lifelong vegetarian, philanthropist and as an avid PETA supporter, does not use animal skins in her designs, which is why in November of 2014, she was awarded the Women's Leadership Award from the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund's Women's Leadership Council in an exclusive event solely honouring her in New York City for her philanthropy and mission to maintain an ethical approach to fashion design. Also in 2014, the first US Adidas by Stella McCartney boutique opened in Miami; the designer teamed up with Angelina Jolie and Disney for a capsule collection of children’s clothes inspired by the film 'Maleficent'; opened her new concept store in Milan; during London Fashion Week, she launched her Green Carpet Collection at the Royal Institution of Great Britain; coinciding with Sao Paulo Fashion Week, she launched her second collection for international chain C&A exclusively in Brazil; and she was nominated for Designer Brand of the Year at the British Fashion Council Awards. So to say Stella has had a great year, is probably an understatement.

Tory Burch

In 2014, Tory Burch Foundation launched Elizabeth Street Capital, an initiative with Bank of America, that provide women entrepreneurs with access to low cost loans, mentoring support and networking opportunities. Also this year, at New York Fashion Week, the Tory Burch brand was the first to use Google’s Lightbox to live stream video of the runway show. In addition, the designer published her first book titled: “Tory Burch In Color”, which foreword is written by the very influential American Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, and together with Vogue, Burch launched the new Tory Burch watch collection in her flagship Rodeo Drive boutique. Since its launch, her brand, which market sources estimate now generates over one billion dollars in annual revenues, has entered into new categories. It is no surprise that as of 2014, Forbes listed Tory as the 79th most powerful woman in the world and today her company is valued at more than $3.5 billion dollars. If Tory can build a fashion empire in just a decade, we are very much looking forward to seeing what she will undertake next.

Young Blood

Raf Simons

His designs are Hollywood royalty favourites including Jennifer Lawrence, Marion Cotillard, Charlize Theron, Lupita Nyong'o, Emma Watson, Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore. Simons started the year right when he invited top students from 16 international colleges and employees from Dior ateliers to watch a specially organized Haute Couture Spring 2014 collection runway show. He then took Dior’s show on the road, when he presented its Resort collection in Brooklyn, New York this past May, where many stars were in attendance such as Rihanna, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Linda Evangelista, Helena Christensen, and Marion Cotillard. This year he also helped increase the Dior’s revenues up to 14% and let’s not forget that he was the recipient of the 2014 CFDA International Award, as well as a nominee for the same honour given by the British Fashion Council. And closing the year with a bang, after presenting Dior's Spring 2015 collection at Paris Fashion Week, Raf Simons decided to take his next show to Japan, where he presented the French luxury fashion house’s pre-fall 2015 collection in Tokyo.

Jeremy Scott

Since Jeremy’s Moschino debut show during Milan Fashion Week, he caught the attention of the fashion industry and fans by creating a fast food inspired collection that included sweaters with McDonald’s arches, a dress patterned with a Fritos crisp bag and a Spongebob Squarepants outfit that instantly sold out the next day. Most recently, he once again shocked the world with his Barbie inspired Spring Summer 2015 collection for Moschino in Milan, where he had the models walk and even roller-skate down the runway in the famous doll inspired dresses to the sound of Aqua's iconic 90s hit, ‘I'm A Barbie Girl’. In 2014, Jeremy Scott has proved to be a creative and unstoppable force that the industry just cannot get enough of and we are eager to see what this designer known for making kitsch cool will do next in 2015.

Alexander Wang

The youngest designer in the group, Alexander Wang breezes the year with his own line present in over 50 countries and both his label and Balenciaga thriving. He was the only designer to be nominated in two categories at the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards. Along with several top designers, he decided to present his New York Fashion Week Fall 2014 collection outside of Lincoln Center but he actually shocked the world when he took it even farther and crossed boroughs by moving his show to the eco-friendly Duggal Greenhouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Being the first American designer to partner up with H&M, his collaboration with the Swedish multinational retail giant was a smashing success, selling out at all of its major stores as soon as it came out last November. Celebrities from around the world showed him their support and even started wearing many pieces from the highly anticipated collection before it was available to the masses. This design virtuoso who built a global brand in less than a decade is just getting started and we are sure there is a lot more to see from him in decades to follow.

Victoria Beckham

2014 was undoubtedly a very big year for Victoria, securing her a place as one of today’s top British designers. Nowadays, her pop star days are a thing of the past. Victoria, who says everything she designs, she would wear herself, is recognized as a successful designer and business woman, who managed to rapidly expand her company. Early this year, she celebrated the appointment of her New York office and in the fall of 2014, she opened her high-fashion label's first store on Dover Street in London. Last October, it was announced that Victoria topped Management Today's list of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs in 2014, surpassing a hundred of the foremost men and women in business in the UK. Not only is her business booming, but she has been receiving many praises from her peers for her hard work, including being one of the three contenders for the coveted 2014 British Fashion Council Designer Brand of the Year Award, alongside Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton. Also this year, she was named as one of Debrett's 500 Most Influential People in the UK, was on the cover of the August issue of British Vogue, and was honoured with the Philanthropreneur award at Eva Longoria's 5th annual Global Gift Gala in London for her work with the British Red Cross. In conclusion, this year Victoria Beckham proved that a woman can have it all, both a successful personal life and a thriving fashion business empire and we are eager to see what she will be doing next.

Well that concludes the Top 10 Designers who made the most headlines this year. Which of these designers got the number 1 spot in Fashion One’s list? Find out in our year-end special, Top 10 Designers of 2014, airing this Dec. 31st, Wednesday at 21:30 (GMT+8 for Asia / GMT+1 for the rest of Europe), exclusively on Fashion One, FO and Fashion First. Check your cable operators for your local TV channel listing.
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