WORDS BY JOSEPH FURNESS
Female fashion designers are the genesis of some of the most important staples and trends to elevate contemporary wardrobes – from the timeless pieces of The Row to the en-vogue aesthetic of Bode.
To celebrate women at the leading edge of style, we’ve collated a list of some of our best-loved female fashion designers, plus a standout piece from their latest collections. Naturally, each of these wonderful female-led brands is available on FARFETCH.
Our Top 9 Female Fashion Designers
Donatella Versace, the boldest woman in fashion, is famed for her predilection towards maximalism – plastering bold prints, colours and logos on everything from silk blouses to sneakers. Her designs are a tangible reflection of her extravagant spirit; each garm is manifestly opulent and rich in quality. Although Donatella has helmed the Italian brand since her brother, Gianni, passed away in 1997, the injection of energy with each collection implies she’s still got a lot more to give.
The latest season of Versace is one of its most impressive to date. The SS21 show debuted a plethora of fresh patterns, silhouettes and accessories – including the versatile La Medusa bags, a new line focusing on the individuality of modern women via its range of colour options and interchangeable straps.
Refined minimalism isn’t the easiest aesthetic to embrace as it’s all about making the simple stuff interesting. In our opinion, no one does this more successfully than Jil Sander. The German designer has been creating season-transcending apparel over at her namesake label since 1968, providing her cult following with savvy wardrobe staples that eschew trends.
One new-season piece we’ve added to our wishlist is the cotton pocket-detail jacket, presented in a perfectly subtle cream hue. The combination of the jacket’s cropped fit, boxy cut and large pocket creates a look that is concurrently conspicuous and unobtrusive.
Grace Wales Bonner
Black British fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner has firmly established her namesake brand across menswear and womenswear. Known for her out-the-box thinking and neo-retro style, Bonner fuses the cross-cultural aesthetic of ‘70s London with contemporary shapes, cuts and details to create collections that feel both nostalgic and original.
As part of her collaboration with adidas, Wales Bonner refreshed the SL72, three stripes 1972 shoe. Inspired by her British and Jamaican roots, the distinctive design combines earthy colours (namely hemp and maroon), velvet laces, satin lining, gold trefoil logo and antique leather overlays.
Emily Adams Bode
Here to convince us to reconsider our approach to fashion is Emily Adams Bode, founder of Bode. With sustainability as her key focus, the American designer employs arcane craft techniques to create garms using vintage, recycled and natural fabrics. Her results are impressive, fans include some of the most in-demand celebutantes on the planet – including, but not limited to, Harry Styles, Jordan Peele and Bella Hadid.
One of our favourite Bode pieces to date are the yo-yo coverlet shorts. Inspired by American yo-yo quilts – popular during the 1930s – the shorts feature a red-and-white spotted design that’s sure to freshen up every summertime wardrobe.
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
When world-famous twins Mary-Kate and Ashley founded The Row in 2006, they created more than just a label – they established an exclusive club. The two female fashion designers create unfussy, painstakingly simple pieces – clothes that circumvent logomania, fad trends and statement pieces – that are designed to last a lifetime. Consequently, once you become a The Row member, there’s no need to turn back.
A prime example of Mary-Kate and Ashley’s work is The Row’s new-season trench coat. With a classic cut and silk-blend material in versatile olive, this outerwear encapsulates their ‘the ultimate luxury is modesty’ mantra.
For Sandra Sandor, founder of Nanushka, pieces that are sustainable, vegan-friendly and enduring classics are at the core of her brand. The Hungarian designer’s focus on ethical fashion has established Nanushka as a label that’s here to stay.
A piece that exemplifies Sandor’s carefully constructed vision is Nanushka’s draped front wrap dress. Made from rose pink artificial leather, the dress is unlike any other – which is precisely why it’s our new obsession.
There's no denying that Miuccia Prada is one of the most inspiring female fashion designers of all time. The Italian visionary took over her grandfather’s leather goods label Prada in 1978 and transformed it into the high-end fashion house it is today. Impressive, right?
Miuccia Prada is renowned for her futuristic, utilitarian, nylon-heavy collections, brimming with must-have accessories. One classic piece that’s recently been re-introduced is the 2000 mini bag. We are loving the nostalgia it serves, and look forward to seeing how new-era tastemakers incorporate it into their styling toolkit.
Stella McCartney is fashion’s mother nature. Not only do her timeless collections spread positive messages, they’re also positively conscious – hence, you can shop her brand (right here on FARFETCH) guilt free. From her vegan leather adidas Stan Smith collection to her uplifting graphic tees, each of McCartney’s offerings are sustainable and have a sense of purpose.
Our new favourite piece from this female fashion designer has to be her smile knitted zipped cardigan. The 100% cotton cardi features a rural landscape across the back, rainbow sleeves and clouds on the front, guaranteed to boost the mood of the wearer and all those they meet.
Diane von Furstenburg
Belgian designer Diane von Furstenberg was once a princess, ergo, she knows what true opulence looks like. Using striking prints, off-beat silhouettes and unexpected details, von Fustenberg has been creating fashion for strong, trailblazing women, like herself, since she first set up shop in 1972.
Almost 50 years later, DvF continues to provide women with beautifully flattering designs. Case in point, her new-season Doris belted dress. The avant-garde look is brought to life with classic black-and-white polka dots on a striking purple background.