When it comes to life I am a great list maker. And I also equate clothes with memories. My Top Ten Date Outfits. My Top Ten Car Crash Fashion Moments. My Ten Things I Would Save In A Fire. One of my favourite books is Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred which lists every item a stylish woman should own – I am up to 76 out of 100, and wonder if I will ever get to a Birkin. So when I was thinking of lists I thought, Who are my Top Ten most stylish women ever? It took time to hone it down from 20 to 10, and as for putting them into any type of order, well, I just couldn’t do it! So here are my My Top Ten Most Stylish Women Of All Time……………….
It would have been so much more predictable to have chosen her mother-in-law, the legendary Jackie O, but Carolyn Bessette Kennedy had such a huge effect on fashion during her tragically short time in the spotlight. Known for her clean-team minimalist style, her Narciso Rodriguez wedding dress was the benchmark for late 1990’s styling, before a new century hit and bling became good. Carolyn, a former employee at Ralph Lauren, had that Park Avenue Princess look which soon ensnared America’s most glorious bachelor. She is still a much missed figure on the fashion landscape.
There are Chanel models, and then there is Ines de la Fressagne. She was the face of the house, and muse to Karl Lagerfeld, during the power dressing heydays and is quite simply the emobodiment of Parisienne chic, from the top of her gamine crop to the tips of her Roger Vivier pumps. Ines still models today and designers still ask her to stalk the catwalk, Jean Paul Gaultier being a favourite. She doesn’t bother with plastic surgery and is one of those women who has decided to head into her fifties armed with style, grace, and a great moisturiser. A one-off.
The youngest and most contemporary name to make my list, Olivia Palermo may have scorched up MTV whilst starring in The City up against sweeter-than-sweet Whitney Port, but she has cornered the market on cool-classics-with-a twist. Whether resplendent in Reiss (she mixes High Street and designer with aplomb), or channeling Chanel, she is the antithesis of others her age who look downright downmarket in order to garner column inches. Poised, ultra-groomed, and super-connected, Olivia is one to watch.
Yes, I know she is a fictional character (although for a long time there we liked to believe she was real!), and I do think SJP is impeccable in her own right but when it comes to fashion, Carrie Bradshaw is imprinted on our memories and has probaby been the most important cultural face of fashion this century-so far! She brought Manolo Blanhik to the masses and every fashionista from Birmingham to Beirut fixated on her style. Never scared to take fashion risks, sometimes kooky, sometimes classic, the fashion industry will be forever in debt to Carrie and her conspirator, stylist Patricia Field. A real girl’s girl.
My pick of the princesses, Grace Kelly beats off the stiff competition by a mile. Her picture perfect face, model figure and immaculate style made her a silver screen legend, and inspired Hermes to create the famous Kelly bag in her name. Then a Prince, his nation and the world watched on in awe when she wore that wedding dress. Watch her in To Catch A Thief to learn an ultimate lesson in style. Perfection.
Successor to, and grandaughter of, legendary beauty icon Estee, Aerin Lauder illutrates all that is great about American fashion and beauty. She showcases home grown talent when it comes red carpet dressing, whether in Ralph Lauren or Donna Karan. Ms. Lauder has that college-girl-grown-up appeal. She keeps it simple and classy with a modern approach, and never puts a style foot wrong. An American classic.
Carine Roitfeld, the editor-in-chief of French Vogue from 2001 to 2011, is my pick of the fashion front row parade. She has the most directional style on the list, and she pulls together couture with attitude to create her own slightly disevelled, nonchalant style. She has passed on her style gene to her amazing daughter, Julia, and it would not surprise me if she one day took her mother’s old position at Vogue. The editor’s editor.
C.Z. Guest, is still known as a legendary socialite and muse. An American thoroughbred, she defined WASP style, and was one of the most photographed women of the twentieth century. She scandalised society by posing nude for Diego Rivera. A long time friend of Truman Capote, Guest is still American fashion royalty nearly ten years after her death, and her influence on American style, from Michael Kors to Ralph Lauren, can never be underestimated. An ultimate style icon.
Caroline Herrera is a doyenne of the fashion industry. I once had the pleasure of sitting at the next table to her for lunch, and spent my whole time craning my neck to stare! No matter what is on trend, Carolina’s beautiful, classic tailoring and her own penchant for crisp, white shirts, means that the Herrera look remains timeless. A true lady.
Queen Rania of Jordan is my pick of the current royals, and yes I do know who I am ignoring! This Queen is simply flawless. Perfectly groomed, she shines on State visits in Armani Prive, but off-duty she still manages to look glamorous but pared down in simple jeans, T’s and blazers. The ultimate yummy mummy.