Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand. She is credited with replacing the corseted silhouette as the feminine standard of style with a sporty, casual chic. Her work as a designer redefined the fashionable woman in the era post World War I. She also played a vital role in revolutionizing jewelry, handbags, and fragrance.
Christian Dior was a French fashion designer. He is credited with founding Christian Dior, one of the world's top fashion houses, which is currently owned by Groupe Arnault. At the time of its founding, the clothes designed by Christian Dior revolutionized women's dress. The brand also re-established Paris as the fashion hub of the world after World War II.
After losing his parents at 10, Louis Vuitton ran away to Paris, where he gained repute as a box-maker/packer, and was even hired by Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugénie de Montijo. He then founded the iconic French fashion and luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton, which now operates in 50 countries.
Italian-born French fashion designer Pierre Cardin revolutionized unisex fashion with his geometric designs. His wine merchant father wanted him to study architecture, but Cardin deviated to fashion instead, starting his career as a men’s tailor. He introduced the Space Age look and also licensed his name out to other products.
Legendary French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent ruled the fashion scene since the 1960s and introduced the Le Smoking tuxedo suit and trousers for ladies. His first job was as Christian Dior’s assistant at 17, and after Dior’s demise, he headed the House of Dior, before launching his own label.
When French-Egyptian fashion designer Christian Louboutin entered the fashion scene in Paris, he designed women’s shoes but eventually also launched a men’s collection, too. He is known for his signature stilettoes with red soles. He later also ventured into leather goods and bags. He is openly homosexual.
Apart from launching his own fashion brand, Givenchy, French designer Hubert de Givenchy also gained fame as a personal designer for celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn. Though he initially studied law, Givenchy began his professional career working with Parisian fashion houses. He later introduced designs such as the Bettina blouse.
French designer Thierry Mugler was initially known for his skills in ballet and drawing. He began his fashion career working for a boutique in Paris and later launched his brand. He is known for his peculiar clothes, inspired by birds and insects, and made of metal and crystals.
Known as the enfant terrible of the fashion world, Jean Paul Gaultier wasn’t formally trained in fashion but managed to redefine fashion with his peculiar range of clothes and perfume. He designed Madonna’s cone bra in the 1990s and used material such as corsets and tin cans in his collections.
10 Paco Rabanne
Born to a seamstress in Basque Country, Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo escaped to France to avoid the Spanish Civil War and took up the name Paco Rabanne. He later gained fame for his avant-garde accessories, his designer clothes made of material such as metal and plastic, and his signature chainmail dress.
Legendary French fashion designer Pierre Balmain, who owned the fashion house Balmain, had initially studied architecture but later quit it to pursue his interest in fashion . Born into a family of boutique and drapery business owners, he was introduced to the world of fashion at an early age.
Filipina-French celebrity Solenn Heussaff dons many hats, and is an actor, a designer, a singer, and a make-up artist at the same time. Known for her appearances in films such as Temptation Island and series such as Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Showdown, she is also an animal lover and owns two tortoises.
Fashion and jewelry designer Paloma Picasso is best known as the daughter of legendary artists Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot. She began her career designing costume jewelry for Yves Saint-Laurent and later designed for Tiffany & Co. Known for her signature red lipstick, she also has her own range of perfumes.
As a child, French designer Christian Lacroix often put together collages and albums on theater and opera, drawing costumes and looks. Apart from clothes, he has designed accessories and footwear. Known for his diffusion line and his use of color, he has also been involved with stage and interior designing.
15 Hedi Slimane
French designer Hedi Slimane began his career as a marketing assistant at Yves Saint Laurent. His menswear silhouettes earned him a CFDA International Designer Award. He now works with the luxury brand Celine. He is also a skilled photographer and has released several photo books and worked for several magazines.
16 Sonia Rykiel
Sonia Rykiel was a French writer and fashion designer. She is credited with creating the Poor Boy Sweater—a pullover with high armholes—which was showcased on the cover page of French Elle. Dubbed the Queen of Knits, Sonia Rykiel helped redefine the idea of knitwear in fashion. She is also credited with founding the Sonia Rykiel label in 1968.
Yves Saint Laurent was a French fashion designer who founded his eponymous fashion label in 1961. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most popular and influential fashion designers, Saint Laurent is credited with helping women all over the world find confidence by looking both elegant and comfortable at the same time. His life and career inspired many films.
18 Jean Patou
Jean Patou was a French fashion designer. He is credited with founding the popular French fashion house, Jean Patou. Over the years, several popular fashion designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Bohan, and Jean Paul Gaultier have worked for Jean Patou. Patou is also credited with creating the designer tie, which he invented in the 1920s.
19 Oleg Cassini
Born to a Russian diplomat, designer Oleg Cassini was known as much for his affairs with femme fatales such as Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe as for his designs. Initially married to actor Gene Tierney, he had also kept his 34-year marriage to Marianne Nestor a secret till his death.
Best known for launching the brands Ed Hardy and Von Dutch, French designer Christian Audigier had designed everything from clothes to hats and had even released collections of perfume. He was known for his tattoo lifestyle theme, which included sequins, bright colors, and images of skulls and roses.
Born to a golf-course owner father and a fashionista mother, Nicolas Ghesquière grew up enjoying activities such as horse-riding and fencing. He later had a 15-year stint at Balenciaga, before joining Louis Vuitton. Named to Time 100, he was also named CFDA’s Womenswear Designer of the Year.
Jeanne Lanvin was a French fashion designer who is credited with founding the multinational high fashion house, Lanvin. She is also credited with founding the perfume and beauty company Lanvin Parfums. In the 1920s, she opened shops devoted to menswear, lingerie, and home décor. In 1938, she was presented with the Officier Legion of Honour.
Russian-French designer and artist Romain de Tirtoff, better known as Erté, not just designed clothes but also created sets, costumes, and posters for opera and ballet performances. He had worked for Harper’s Bazaar and the Folies-Bergère, and had also penned quite a few books on design and illustration.
24 Max Azria
Max Azria was a Tunisia-born fashion designer. He was the founder of the contemporary women's clothing brand BCBGMAXAZRIA and the chairman and CEO of the global fashion house the BCBG Max Azria Group. The brand was eventually sold to Marquee Brands and Global Brands Group. Azria was twice married and had six children. He died of lung cancer in 2019.
Born in Morocco and raised in France, designer Paul Marciano is one of the co-founders of Guess and The Marciano Art Foundation. Part of a family of rabbis, he grew up in a synagogue complex and was also part of a Jewish boy scout group.
26 Paul Poiret
Paul Poiret was a French fashion designer best remembered for advocating the idea of replacing the corset with the brassiere. Poiret is credited with founding his namesake haute couture house which was responsible for making him one of the most influential designers of pre-World War I Paris. It is also widely believed that Paul Poiret invented the hobble skirt.
Inès de La Fressange is a French model, fashion designer, and style icon. In the 1980s, she became the first model to achieve popularity in mainstream media and the first model to sign an exclusive contract with a fashion house. A symbol of the 1980s, La Fressange was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1998.
28 Jean Louis
Jean Louis was a French-born costume designer who worked predominantly in Hollywood. In an illustrious Hollywood career that spanned more than four decades, Louis designed outfits for almost every Hollywood star including Rita Hayworth, Lucille Ball, and Judy Garland. Jean Louis is also credited with designing Marilyn Monroe's iconic dress worn at President John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday celebration.
Uffie is an American-French rapper, singer, songwriter, DJ, and fashion designer. She is best known for her debut studio album Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans which peaked at number 18 in the UK Dance Albums Chart. Uffie's life and career inspired a documentary that was showcased at the 2019 FIPA film festival.
Julia Restoin Roitfeld is a French designer and creative director. Julia has worked with some of the most prestigious brands, such as Miu Miu and Jean-Paul Gaultier. She has also modeled for international brands like Tom Ford, Lancôme, and Givenchy. Julia Restoin Roitfeld has also graced the cover pages of international publications like Elle, Vogue, Madame Figaro, and Harper's Bazaar.
Madeleine Vionnet was a French fashion designer who established her own fashion house in 1912. From 1919 to 1939, Vionnet was one of the most prominent designers in Paris. Dubbed the Queen of the bias cut, Vionnet is best remembered for popularizing the bias cut. Regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential designers, Vionnet inspired many fashion designers.
32 Roger Vivier
Roger Vivier was a French fashion designer. Dubbed the Fragonard of the shoe, Vivier specialized in making shoes and is best remembered for creating the popular stiletto heel. In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II wore the shoes designed by Vivier for her coronation. Roger Vivier also designed shoes for popular celebrities like Gloria Guinness, Ava Gardner, and The Beatles.
André Courrèges was a French fashion designer whose designs were influenced by futurism and modernism. Courrèges is remembered for being one of the designers to have invented the miniskirt. He is also renowned for his extremely simple designs that were paired with go-go boots; the go-go boot was initially known as the Courrèges boot.
Born to a tailor father, French designer Emanuel Ungaro was gifted a sewing machine as his first toy. His first job was at a tailor's shop in Paris, following which he worked for Balenciaga and Courrèges. Best known for his menswear and perfume collection, he later created his own label.
35 Guy Laroche
Guy Laroche was a French fashion designer who is credited with founding his eponymous company which went on to become a major fashion house in France. Laroche is also credited with bringing ready-to-wear outfits to Paris. In 2005, American actress Hilary Swank received her Academy Award wearing a Guy Laroche dress.
36 Agnès B.
Born in Brazil, to a French aristocrat father and a Brazilian mother, Princess Georgina Maria, better known as Georgina Brandolini d'Adda, started her career as a Dior intern. She then worked for Valentino and Balmain. She has also designed jackets for Blazé Milano and worked for the São Paulo-based Iguatemi.
38 Nicole Farhi
Known for her elegant, unstructured designs, fashion designer Nicole Farhi began her career as a freelancer in Paris before moving to London. Eventually she joined French Connection as the head of its design studio in Bow, very soon launching her own label under the company’s umbrella. She gradualy expandied it to include shoes, accessories, home décor, opening shops and even restaurants.
39 Ted Lapidus
Born to a Russian Jewish tailor, French designer Ted Lapidus is credited with popularizing military-style fashion and blue jeans as part of mainstream fashion design. He was known for his signature Saharienne and the uniform look. Celebrities such as John Lennon and Brigitte Bardot wore his creations.
40 Lilly Daché
French-American milliner Lilly Daché was initially inspired by her Bordeaux-based milliner aunt and was later apprenticed to Parisian milliner Caroline Reboux. After moving to the U.S., she worked at Macy’s and then launched her own creations. She had designed hats for celebrities such as Betty Davis and Audrey Hepburn, too.
Born to a tailor father and a dressmaker mother, Pauline Trigère had already learned to use a sewing machine by age 10. She later came to be known for her well-fitting cuts and her use of wool. She also launched jewelry, perfume, and scarves, and had clients such as Bette Davis.