Fashion Geek: Quick Fashion History Lessons

History lessons are not necessarily fun, but we’re here to change that. Take five to learn about fashion designers hidden pasts. Okay maybe, I was exaggerating with the word 'hidden,' let us just say some facts that essentially not everyone knows.

1.    Vera Wang… was a Design Director at Ralph Lauren

People know her as the Queen of Wedding dresses, and while she may have kick-started her career in the bridal business, Vera Wang is much more than what is perceived. Born on June 27, 1949, Vera Wang has acquired a strong work ethic since she was young. Before the rise of her fame, she was once the design director of Ralph Lauren and had spent 15 years working as a senior fashion editor at Vogue. And although people may think her job comes with a lot of play and fun, she mentioned that it wasn't always peaceful and beautiful. She swept floors, stayed over at the office, and did other labor work to get to where she is today. And despite her affluent family, she has always shown the odds to making it on her own, proving that she is one tough cookie.


Fun Fact: Anna Wintour once dated Vera Wang’s brother.

2.    Giorgio Armani… free-lanced in Zegna, Cerruti, and Loewe. 

Giorgio Armani born on July 11, 1934, is a perfectionist who once studied medicine and served in the military before realizing that treating people and bandages wasn’t his calling. Even without the proper education, Giorgio Armani was well knowledgeable in the fashion world, gaining his understanding through years of experiences. He was once a window dresser at La Rinascente department store in Milan and then followed through with a couple of freelance gigs with known fashion houses such as Zegna, Cerruti, and Loewe before he traded it all to start his own fashion line.  Who would have thought that Giorgio Armani would have such a rich history?

3.    Pierre Hardy… at Hermès

Pierre Hardy born in 1956 have always had a natural talent and passion for the arts which explains how he got his teaching degree in Plastic Arts from the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Cachan. As well as design he was also very passionate about performing arts, dance in particular. His passion for dance and his skills were what led him to the discovery of shoe designing. Pierre Hardy's shoe-designing career first took off in 1987 where he designed for the women’s shoe collections for Christian Dior. Then later in 1990, he was named the Creative Director for both the Women and Men’s shoe collections at Hermès. Only until the year 1999 did he launch his eponymous brand and it has since grown tremendously. Last year Hermès even acquired a minority stake in his company.

Fun Fact: In 2001, Pierre Hardy besides already being their Creative Director for the Women and Men’s shoe collection he was also named the Creative Director for Hermès Fine Jewelry division. His most renowned design includes the iconic double tour strap bracelet.

4.    Martin Margiela… was the Womenswear director for Hermès

Martin Margiela born on April 9, 1957, was first brought to the fashion world in 1989. He brought with him a collection that was daring and outside the lines of the norm in fashion and was ultimately rejected by the mass media culture, whereas now his picturesque views are much adored and loved. In 1997, Martin Margiela made a very unexpected move, as he became the womenswear director of design house Hermès. Although Margiela stayed at Hermès from 1997-2003, photographs and acknowledgement of his works are very rare, even more so because Margiela himself hardly ever gave comments and or interviews about his work. Even with the lack of publicity his works have always embodied his passion and enthusiasm for tailoring. Currently, ModeMuseum Provincie Antwerpen is holding a “Margiela: The Hermès Years” exhibition from March 31 to August 27, 2017. An exhibition that helps people understands and sees his works during his time at Hermès and at Margiela.

Fun fact: Jean-Louis Dumas, chairman of Hermès, once asked Margiela if he was going to cut the Kelly in half since most of his previous work were mostly visualized as grunge and destroyed.

5.    Michael Kors… was the Creative Director at Céline

Michael Kors was born on August 9, 1959, where he was in fact named Karl Anderson until his mom remarried his stepfather and allowed him to change his first name along with his last. After only nine months in school, Kors quit only to start his line. While selling his designs at New York-based shop Lothars, he was discovered by Dawn Mello, former fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman. Dawn Mello gave him the opportunity to showcase his collection to the buyers at Bergdorf, and that was the beginning of everything. Later in 1997, he ventured outside his line and worked as the first ever women’s ready-to-wear designer of fashion house Céline. Kors revived the brand and public image by incorporating his femininity and luxurious aesthetics into the brand, and climbed the ladder towards the Creative Director position.  He remained in Céline until 2004, then left to concentrate on his growing empire.