Fashion is more than throwing nice ladies scarves on young models and calling it glamorous. Fashion is a business. The cream will rise to the top. Let’s take a look at six business women whose work defines fashion today.
Aerin Lauder, representing the third generation of the founding family of Estée Lauder, has delivered impressive results. She came up as marketing director of Prescriptives. She then took over development and marketing at Estée Lauder’s flagship, rising to become vice-president in charge of advertising. She emphasizes a natural look for the brand as it seeks to defend its prestigious cosmetic lines.
Rose Marie Bravo
The Bronx-born American business woman has risen to the rank of vice-president of the iconic British brand Burberry. Rose Marie Bravo rose up through the ranks at Macy’s and later at Saks Fifth Avenue. She then turned to the task of modernizing Burberry. Under Bravo’s oversight, the brand has expanded aggressively, especially into fragrances. Burberry’s sales have more than doubled on her watch.
No list dominant women in fashion would be complete without Anna Wintour. As editor-in-chief of the magazine Vogue, Wintour has had the first word in fashion since she took over the publication in 1998. Every item you have ever owned, down to ladies scarves, has been influenced at some level by Wintour. Wintour has worked to bring fashion to the masses, funding an endowment for emerging designers.
The Olsen Twins
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen parlayed their child star status to become the first word in teen fashion. Anchoring Wal-Mart’s lineup, their fashions yield $400 million in sales. At 26 years old, they command one of the biggest brands in fashion. The twins also have a higher-end line, Elizabeth and James which is scheduled to release a a special line of leather purses this summer.
Going from Indiana to New York City, Angela Ahrendts emerged to become executive vice-president of Liz Claiborne. She served as VP at both the Donna Karan Collection and Henri Bendel. She earned her reputation as a pragmatist with an eye for good design. She knows what will sell and she gets it out to the public.
Once a communist rabble-rouser and a mime, Miuccia Prada might seem an unlikely woman to emerge as a fashion titan. Saddled with an aging family-owned luggage brand, Prada seized the initiative and converted the company into one of the definitive names in handbags. On her watch, the Prada brand has gone from stuffy to innovative and stylish.