A Style-Lover’s Guide To The Most Influential Fashion Icons Of All Time

Though style is always evolving and consistently breaking new barriers, there are so many influential fashion icons who are trailblazers in every sense of the word. The world has been blessed with models, actors, performers and designers who created what we would consider “classic” styles today, along with bold looks most of us could only dream of one day emulating. The fashion legends of decades past/present are the reason we have so many incredible styles from which to choose and  have influenced nearly every fashion trend to appear from our favorite designers and brands.

From Marilyn Monroe and her iconic white halter dress (You know the one!) to Princess Diana’s relatable, casual style—matter the fact that she was actual, legitimate royalty—and Naomi Campbell’s influence as a world-famous supermodel the ’80s and ’90s, there are so many figures who have shaped how we see fashion today. Of course, the evolution of style-ever-changing and adapting to our current world, but we’d be nowhere without the influential fashion icons who have lead the way with their legendary ensembles and fearless attitudes. If there’s a trend you absolutely love, odds are, it was inspired by a fashionista from history.

Because it’s always a good idea to know where we’ve been before we can keep moving forward, you’ll find a list of some the most influential fashion icons of all time below—and the reasons why they’re legendary. Although they might not ha realized it at the time, each of these style symbols has had a major impact on the fashion industry and how we view style as a whole. Constantly pushing barriers and using fashion as a form of liberation, the icons below are worth remember—and celebrating.

In this Sept. 9, 1954, Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft of a New York subway grate while filming “The Seven Year Itch” New York. President Donald Trump has signed resolutions renaming two post offices in the Los Angeles area in honor of Monroe and rock ‘n’ roll legend Ritchie Valens. (AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman, File)

Cher has had a major style evolution that began in the 1970s—mainly due to the fact she had a close relationship with costume designer Bob Mackie. She not only wore unique, jaw-dropping (and even somewhat unconventional) looks on stage, but also on red carpets as well.

Cher in Fringe Top Flipping Hair, 1974 Credit: 276818Globe Photos/MediaPunch /IPX

Naomi Campbell

Super model Naomi Campbell presents a transparent hooped white dress over black lingerie as part of Chantal Thomass 1995 spring-summer ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris, Oct. 14, 1994. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Naomi Campbell became one of the most sought-after models in the ’80s and ’90s after being discovered at the age of 15.  She’s walked countless runways, and one of the first women to be officially deemed a “Supermodel” by the fashion industry. She became a trailblazer in the industry, and even served as the first Black woman to be featured on the cover several magazines—including French Vogue.


Cindy Crawford arriva alla fiera di Milano per partecipare alle sfilate di Milano collezioni, oggi. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Along with Naomi Campbell, we have Cindy Crawford. Arguably one of the most famous supermodels of all time, Crawford gained her success on the runways in the ’80s and ’90s. During this time, too, the model became an influential fashion icon when off-duty. Her red Versace dress worn to the Oscars in 1991 became a must-have look throughout the world.


Diana Ross belts out a song to a crowd estimated at 350,000 during a free concert in New York’s Central Park, July 21, 1983. The concert was shortened by a severe thunderstorm. At a repeat concert the next night, violence erupted at the end of her performance and spread to city streets, resulting in a number of arrests. (AP Photo/Carlos Rene Perez)

With confidence for days and a willingness to unapologetically stand out with her fashion choices, Diana Ross become one of the most influential fashion icons of all time. She could go from classic gowns to funky on-trend looks in the drop of a hat—and look absolutely incredible in them all.


Sipa via AP Images.

Anyone alive—and interested in fashion—in the 1960s was no-doubt influenced by Twiggy (also known as Dame Lesley Dawson). She was a British cultural icon and one of the most well-known models of the era—especially due to her thin frame, big eyes, long eyelashes and short hair. The model had a kind of androgynous look that was new and exciting, and the entire world loved it.


AP Photo.

Princess Diana wore plenty of gorgeous pieces in the 1980s, but her casual style is what made her so influential—and, honestly, likable. She was often seen wearing what we’d consider athleisure today, along with other cute styles that made her feel relatable. Though she was royalty, Princess Diana stayed down-to-earth with her style, making her one of fashion most-loved influences.



Along with being a famous entertainer in France, French Resistance agent and civil rights activist, Josephine Baker was also an undeniable style icon. She was the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture in 1927 and such a trailblaze during the Jazz Age. Her iconic costume consisted of a skirt made of faux bananas and a beaded necklace—which became a symbol of the era.


Sipa via AP Images.

Coco Chanel (pictured left) has become synonymous with fashion. And not only fashion in general, but high fashion. She founded Chanel after World War I, moving away from the classic corset ensembles and into more fun, casual and sport looks. This was a huge shift in what it meant to look “feminine,” and paved the way for thousands of designers to come.



Sofia Davis, Editor-in-Chief of Fashion Avenue News was nicknamed the Black Anna Wintour as she always wore sunglasses (even inside). She wanted sunglasses that would stand out, so she put pearls and rhinestones on the first pair she made. They were an instant hit and the rest is history. Today she has extended her Luxury Brand by adding The House Of Sofia – a Couture Eveningwear Line, 12 additional digital/print publications and FAN TV.

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