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History’s Iconic Trend Setters

Have our iconic historical trendsetters gone from royalty to reality? The original trendsetters were members of the ruling class. Queen Elizabeth I adorned herself in a regal image earning her unmistakable recognition as Britain’s Monarch. Film stars followed, with the likes of Clara Bow, Greta Garbo and Marlene Deitrich topping the list of silver screen fashionistas, and eventually pop stars joined the list, with Lady Gaga and Madonna arguably among the most trendsetting women of the millennium.

fashionable woman in sepia

A trendsetter is a woman to put on a pedestal, an icon that women want to follow. Will our next fashion icon be found trying to find love in all the wrong places, pulling tablecloths from under opulent dish settings, or snapping selfies? Here is a look at some of the historic iconic trendsetters of the past. Where do you think the next generation will come from?

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
Coco Chanel not only revolutionized fashion, she liberated women. Not only do we have her to thank for such fashion staples as costume jewelry, the little black dress, and espadrilles, but for the freedom of women’s bodies. The corset free bust, the streamlined silhouette sans the hyper waistline, and women’s trousers were all Coco’s inventions, aimed at simplifying and accommodating the lifestyle of modern women.

Clara Bow
Clara Bow was the original IT girl and perhaps the ultimate flapper. Her look incorporates the slimming chevrons with the drop waist and additions of sequins for a more glam version.

Colleen Moore
If you’re wearing a bob today, you have silent film actress Colleen Moore to thank. The actress basically invented the block cut, and wore it until the day she died in 1988.

Josephine Baker
Without Josephine Baker, Beyonce may not have been shaking her booty today. This original showgirl turned spy was best known for her “banana dance’ and pet cheetah which she could frequently be seen taking walks with on the streets of Paris. She was also known for her flare for accessories, and could sometimes be found on stage wearing little else.

woman in 20s fashion sitting on sofa

Greta Garbo
One would be remiss in leaving Greta Garbo off a list of trendsetters. This alluring film star fascinated women and men alike. Heavily depending on designer Valentina Schlee for her clothing collection, Garbo is often considered the epitome of Hollywood glamor.

Pola Negri
As the first European actress to be invited to Hollywood, you can bet Pola Negri was quite the trendsetter in her day. she could often be seen wearing turbans and fur boots, and even popularized the wearing of red painted toenails in the Western World.

Zelda Fitzgerald
One would expect the wife of the author of the Great Gatsby to be something of a muse. Husband F. Scott Fitzgerald declared his wife to be “the first American Flapper,” alluding to her creativity, attitude and independence as the encapsulation of the movement.

Jean Arthur
The literal first lady of screwball comedy, publicity shy Jean Arthur of the “I’d rather slit my throat than do and interview’ fame was known to rock and androgynous look, with man- style work shirts and relaxed fit trousers.

What do you think? Have our trendsetters gone from royalty to reality? Let us know!

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