My Style Icons
By Emily Phillips
Any true fashion enthusiast has their icons. While some are drawn to a particular persons dress or their general appearance, I find myself watching those who are more than what they wear. They are women of strength and intelligence who inspire me to be better; both in life and in spirit. Whether they are alive today, or continuing to influence young minds after death, my four style icons have motivated me in becoming the creatively styled person I am today.
To begin, Coco Chanel has only recently become a woman whom I admire. I had always known of her impact on the society of fashion, however it was only when I truly learned of her story that I realized what an incredible woman she was.
In February of 2015, I made myself comfortable on the couch at my dance studio. I had my headphones in, and I was prepared to tune out the world. It was with only a single click of the screen that my love for Chanel, was born into existence.
The movie ‘Coco Before Chanel’, directed by Anne Fontaine and released in 2009, is a film that follows Coco’s journey toward success. The movie is entirely in French, however I highly recommend you take the time to watch it as it is truly inspiring. Coco didn’t come from a life of wealth or fame. Instead she made a name for herself; you could even call her the original ‘girlboss’. It all began in her childhood orphanage, where her housemother taught her to sow. And from there, she worker her ass off to make it as renowned fashion designer in a world primarily dominated by men.
The thing that I find truly unique about Coco Chanel is that her style is timeless. Even along the modern streets of today, glimpses of this incredible legacy can be seen. She is majorly known for her suits, LBD’s, and pearls; all of which continue to be a significant part of today’s fashion. Think of how essential the LBD is in any woman’s life. Fashion historians can trace the history of this particular trend all the way back to the designs of Coco Chanel in the 1920s. This woman revolutionized the fashion industry with a unique take on style. In both her designs and the way she chose to present herself, she was creative, classy, and hella badass.
Although Karl Lagerfeld has taken over the designing of the Chanel brand’s couture, or runway looks, he has managed to continue to stay true to its founder’s voice. Lagerfeld’s modern outlook on Chanel’s style cannot be ignored; however, she is still inspiring and affecting his designs to this day. Coco Chanel has largely influenced fashion over the last century and will continue to do so in the future, and she is a style icon to me because of how thoroughly she was able to impact the world of fashion.
My second style icon is Gigi Hadid, supermodel and ‘it’ girl of today. Although much of her style is not truly hers, (instead it is her stylist’s, Monica Rose), there is still something about this girl that inspires me. At only 21 years old, Gigi has been on the cover of just about every major fashion and lifestyle magazine in existence, and even on her days off she continues to dress as if she is about to strut down the runway. Talk about #lifegoals. But there is more to Gigi that just her looks. As an item of attention, not all of the buzz surrounding the model is positive. Gigi often finds herself to be the victim of internet trolls dead-set on body shaming this girl out of the industry. Talk about #stopbodyshaming.
However, even in the midst of this continuous online backlash, Gigi manages to hold herself up with confidence and grace; and does so admirably. On September 28, 2015 Gigi responded to all this hate through a post on Instagram. She wrote, “So many people are so quick to comment negative opinions this month. Yes, judgment on social media comes from people who, 99% of the time, have no idea what they're talking about, but I'm human, and I'm not going to lie, I did let the negativity get to me a little. I came to a realization that when one gets to this point, it's important to rethink why you're doing what you do. What your message is. What you have to say.
“I'm just doing my job. I represent a body image that wasn't accepted in high-fashion before, and I'm very lucky to be supported by the designers, stylists, and editors that I am: ones that know this is fashion, it's art; it can never stay the same. It's 2015. But if you're not one of those people, don't take your anger out on me. Yes, I have boobs, I have abs, I have a butt, I have thighs, but I'm not asking for special treatment. I'm fitting into the sample sizes. Your mean comments don't make me want to change my body, they don't make me want to say no to designers that ask me to be in their shows, and they definitely don't change the designers opinions of me. If they want me in their show, I'm in it; if they don't, I'm not. That's just how it is and how it will be. If you don't like it, don't follow me, don't watch me, cause I'm not going anywhere. If I didn't have the body I do, I wouldn't have the career I do. I love that I can be sexy. I'm proud of it.
“I've said it before... I hope everyone gets to a place in their life where they'd rather talk about the things that inspire them over the things that bring others down. At least be open if not part of the change, but it's undeniably happening. Happy PFW xx G.”
Way to shut down the haters Gigi; and way to teach young girls to believe that their bodies are incredibly sexy and, more importantly, beautiful. Be proud ladies.
In terms of her style, the young model is never afraid to try new and bold things. Even when she’s feeling a little more laid back, Gigi is somehow able to make a simple pair of jeans and a casual tee look high fashion. In addition to her provisions of endless outfit inspiration, she always slays on the red carpet and her accessory game is on point. Truthfully, she is just the straight up queen of street style, red carpet looks, and lazy Sundays.
Rowan Blanchard is a young actress who has been growing in popularity since her first major on screen appearance in spy kids . Rowan’s most recognized acting role is the part of ‘Riley Matthews’ on the family T.V. show ‘Girl Meets World’; a continuation of the famous 1990’s show ‘Boy Meets World’. Aside from her acting career, Rowan uses her large social media following as an outlet to educate and inform people of happenings often ignored by society on a daily basis. Through her Instagram and other accounts, she posts educational images or charity links that allow her followers to become aware of the events occurring around the world. I found this teen to be the most inspiring to me when she spoke at the 2016 Women’s March in Los Angeles, California. In her speech she intelligently addressed topic such as gender equality, education, politics, and the significance of her generation - my generation.
Rowan’s style is unique, bold, and creative. She often wears combinations of clothing that contrast and compliment in ways that are quite daring. In an interview with Vanity Fair, in March of 2016, she said, “Film has a huge influence on my fashion. If there’s a movie that I really like then I’ll like try to become that character.” As can be taken from this quote, Blanchard has a very playful take on fashion. It allows her to become a different person. In this same interview, she also expresses her love of bags. She says that they make her feel ‘sophisticated’. When asked of her style philosophy, she replies by saying, “I think my style philosophy would be to never define your style. Be whatever you want.” This is a quote of hers that inspired me to try more things in fashion and not be so afraid to try something new or different.
At only 15 years old, the actress has a better red carpet record than most celebrities her age- and she has barely even started her career. This, in addition to her human and women’s rights activism, is what makes her a style icon to me. She is inspiring and never afraid to try new things, and she is educated, intelligent, and a voice to my generation. She speaks out about what some of us cannot; motivating us, and making us better people.
Alexa Chung is probably the most influential style icon, toward me, of the three I have already discussed. She is the person who inspired me to even consider fashion as a career. It was through a series of Youtube documentaries, in which she collaborated with British Vogue, that I discovered the appeal of the fashion industry. Not only, did she introduce me to a whole new world, but in each episode I found myself highly attracted to her style. And it was after this time of discovery that I began actively stalking all fashion news involving Alexa Chung.
Chung can often be seen wearing clothing inspired by men’s fashion such as pant suits or box fitted blazers. However, this does not mean she avoids highlighting her feminine attributes as it is just as often the she can be seen in a dress or skinny jeans and heels. I think my favorite outfit worn by her was this maroon ‘wrap-dress’ over a simple white tee that she was seen in during New York Fashion Week of 2016. She paired this dress with white boots and black vintage style sunglasses that complimented her outfit extremely well. Coming out this month of May 2017, is Alexa’s own fashion line called Alexachung. Personally I am extremely excited to see what she does with this opportunity as this woman truly is a style star, if you ask me.
As Alexa is the woman who introduced me to the world of fashion in the first place, I often find myself dressing in ways similar to her. She has influenced both my style and led me to see for myself a career in fashion, thus making her the most influential of my style icons.