The Beginner's Guide to the Top International Fashion Designers

By | December 28, 2013

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Fashion trends are primarily dictated by a select few fashion designers and their latest catwalk fashion shows from the world’s fashion capitals of London, New York, Paris and Milan. Here are the top fashion designers that all dedicated followers of fashion need to know about – they’ll be influencing what you’ll be wearing this season.


Burberry Prorsum

Burberry is primarily known for its outerwear, with the classic Burberry trench one of its bestsellers. Christopher Bailey is the fashion designer currently at the Burberry helm and his most recent catwalk show revealed a tougher side to the brand’s fashion themes, with biker jackets, studded jackets, leather leggings and leopard-print dresses.

Christopher Kane

Christopher is a Scottish fashion designer who is known for his attention to detail, with beautiful embellishment a key theme. This season Christopher Kane’s collection features elegant shapes and refined silhouettes bursting with colour including vivid pinks, intense blues and neon greens.

Jonathan Saunders

Since making his debut at London Fashion Week in September 2003, Jonathan Saunders is particularly well known for his beautiful prints and patterns on silk fabrics and is popular with the likes of Cheryl Cole, Madonna and Kylie Minogue. His recent spring collection sees pretty clothes with clean lines, simple shapes and elegant colourways.

Richard Nicoll

The collections of Richard Nicoll are famous for beautiful tailoring and sharp shirting. Richard Nicoll’s latest spring/summer collection is a glamorous take on sportswear, with tough fabrics like black PVC interspersed with soft colourways and floaty skirts.

New York

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein’s chief fashion designer is Francisco Costa and minimalism is a key theme in his fashion collections. Elegant, structured designs in neutral colours and black are staples, with Calvin Klein’s spring/summer 2011 clothing continuing the theme.

Marc Jacobs

Offbeat fashion-forward clothing defines Marc Jacobs with the fashion label’s bright colours and quirky prints appearing season after season. This spring/summer, Marc Jacobs is bursting with bold colours, eye-catching prints and textured fabrics with the disco fever of the 1970s the main inspiration.


LA-based sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy are at the helm of the Rodarte fashion label, which sees elegant shapes and feminine designs epitomising sophisticated glamour. This spring/summer, Rodarte’s collection is brimming with printed skirts and trousers, romantic dresses against a backdrop of brown tones with a 1970s twist.

3.1 Philip Lim

Stylish sportswear is the signature theme of 3.1 Phillip Lim, with contrasting textures such as lace, leather and sequins playing a starring role. However, the spring/summer collection from 3.1 Philip Lim sees a slight departure from this signature style to produce a fashion collection with clean lines, simple pieces and more tailored silhouettes. Think leather t-shirts, chiffon blouses and layered dresses in clean, neutral colours.



Coco Chanel began designing her first fashion collection in the early 1900s and was famous for menswear-inspired clothing and chic simplicity. Fast forward to 2011 and Chanel’s collection continues to be inspired by these fundamental themes, with a modern twist. Elegant shapes and the classic monochrome palette are interspersed with ragged edges and distressed fabrics to give the collection a modern edge.


Céline is synonymous with sophisticated clothing in clean, sophisticated cuts designed to flatter. Paris-born Phoebe Philo has been Creative Director at Céline since September 2008 and her recent spring/summer collection featured pale shades in sportswear, as well as North-African inspired prints and textures in the clothes.

Alexander McQueen

The Savile Row-trained British fashion designer Alexander McQueen launched his own fashion label in 2001 and was known for his fantastical designs and avant-garde catwalk shows. Since his tragic death in 2010, his assistant Sarah Burton has headed up the fashion house with her debut collection giving the signature out-of-this-world designs a softer, romantic and more feminine edge.


Alber Elbaz, the chief fashion designer at Lanvin, aims to create wearable clothes that make women feel elegant and confident, with beautifully draping dresses, classic accessories and beautiful bridal wear. This season, Lanvin’s collection brings glamour to dresses in flowing fabrics with vivid splashes of colour.



Glamour is the fundamental theme that runs through Gucci’s fashion collections. The Gucci catwalk shoes feature models with large dark sunglasses, tanned skin and heavily styled hair. This spring/summer season, Gucci designer Frida Giannini showcased a collection boasting luxurious fabrics in satin, lace and leather, with vibrant jewel tones, colour blocking and embellishment.

Jil Sander

Jil Sander set up her fashion label in 1967 and is associated with sleek clothes in clean lines. Today, Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons is at the helm and his latest collection for Jil Sander boasts eye-popping colours, including fluorescents, in dramatic shapes. Colour blocking and colour clashing are central themes, with simple white t-shirts providing an effective contrast.


Prada began life in 1913 as a luxury leather goods retailer. In 1938, Muccia Prada, the granddaughter of its original founder Mario, transformed it into one of the world’s most renowned Italian fashion labels. Today it is associated with impeccably crafted clothes for men and women. It’s latest collection is more flamboyant than usual, with bold colours and prints (including bananas) in dresses, jackets, suits, skirts and jackets.

Dolce & Gabbana

Glamour and leopard print are staple themes of Dolce & Gabbana, the fashion house set up by designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in 1986. This season, the fashion designers have come up with a more pared back collection which is inspired by lingerie, with slip dresses and handcrafted lace embroidered with embellishment playing starring roles.

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