Iconic American designer Nicole Miller’s designs are elegant with a hint of rebellion. Born to a French mother, Miller was trained at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. RISD inspired her sense of freedom and creativity while Chambre Syndicale gave her a mastery of the classic French techniques of haute couture. Evident in Miller silhouettes is skillful draping that promotes a dynamic body consciousness non-conformist glamour of Miller’s creations has earned her many fans in Hollywood. Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Beyonce, Joss Stone, Jordin Sparks and Felicity Huffman are among those who have recently appeared in her designs.A strong believer in protecting our natural environment, Miller actively supports the Rocky Mountain Institute and Robert Kennedy Jr.’s Riverkeeper. Together with her husband, Kim, and son, Palmer, Miller divides her time between New York City and Sag Harbor, NY.
2. HERVÉ LÉGER BY MAX AZRIA
Hervé Léger by Max Azria captures the allure of the modern, powerful woman with its exclusive couture and dynamic ready-to-wear collections. Each Hervé Léger by Max Azria look is designed with the iconic “bandage dress” in mind, seamlessly sculpting the female silhouette with signature banding construction. Paying tribute to a modern femininity while maintaining the house’s heritage, Hervé Léger by Max Azria makes an unforgettable statement. Originally founded in 1985, Hervé Léger was acquired by BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP in 1998, marking the first time in fashion history that a French couturier was absorbed by an American designer. In early 2007 Max Azria relaunched the Hervé Léger label with his own designs, which were quickly embraced by today’s most renowned style-setters, including Kate Hudson, Diane Kruger, Beyoncé Knowles, Rihanna, Kate Bosworth, Kate Winslet, Rachel Weisz and Jennifer Lopez. Since its debut on the runway during Fall 2008 New York Fashion Week, Hervé Léger by Max Azria has received critical praise and been featured in top fashion publications worldwide. In recognition of the successful relaunch of the Hervé Léger brand, Max Azria was presented with the 2008 Fashion Excellence Award at the 33rd Annual Dallas Fashion Awards. Continuing to expand its global retail and wholesale network without sacrificing the integrity and exclusivity of the collection, Hervé Léger by Max Azria is now available at namesake boutiques in London, Paris, New York, Beverly Hills, West Palm Beach, Las Vegas, Aventura, Somerset Collection, Dallas, South Coast Plaza, and on Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. In addition to its strong retail presence, Hervé Léger by Max Azria is available at some of the most formidable department and specialty stores worldwide, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, Harrods, Selfridges, Printemps and NET-A-PORTER.
“Everything I do is a matter of heart, body and soul,” says Donna Karan, chief designer of the international company that bears her name. “For me, designing is an expression of who I am as a woman, with all the complications, feelings and emotions.” In fact, Karan credits her feminine instincts for the success of the company she founded in 1984 with her late husband Stephan Weiss, which went on to become a publicly-traded enterprise in 1996, and then five years later, was acquired by its present owner, the French luxury conglomerate, LVMH, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Says Karan, “That I’m a woman makes me want to nurture others, fulfill needs and solve problems. At the same time, the artist within me strives for beauty, both sensually and visually. So design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable.” How Karan meets that challenge can run from the simplicity of a bodysuit (where it all began) to the artisan glamour of a limited edition hand-painted Devore dress. Whatever form the design takes, Karan will tell you it begins and ends with the body – its sensual expression, sense of security, and freedom of movement. A modern system of dressing, Karan’s concept is based on seven easy pieces, where a handful of interchangeable items work together to create an entire wardrobe that goes from day to evening, weekday to weekend, season to season. “I’m designing for an international man and woman. A creative person who never knows where a day is going to take them,” says Karan. “That’s why New York is on the label.
4. NANETTE LEPORE
Known for her bold colors, evocative prints and signature silhouettes, Nanette Lepore has become one of the leading names in contemporary American fashion. Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Nanette married painter Robert Savage and headed east to New York City. Outfitted with only her talent, tenacity and a $5,000 loan from her father, Nanette launched her label in New York City’s Garment Center. Inspired by her artsy bohemian childhood and passion for a good party, Nanette’s designs are often seen on Blake Lively, Sofia Vergara, Abigail Breslin, Arianna Huffington, Leighton Meester, Taylor Swift, Kelly Rutherford, Ashley Greene, and Kristin Chenoweth. Nanette’s outspoken efforts to protect New York City’s Garment Center have helped to raise awareness and demand for American-made clothing. Today, Nanette Lepore has grown into an international brand that offers women’s apparel, handbags, footwear, accessories, swimwear, a junior collection with JCPenney and home. Nanette Lepore has shops across the United States and Asia—including boutiques in New York, Los Angeles, Bal Harbour, Las Vegas, Boston, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
5. TOMMY HILFIGER
Since opening his first store in Elmira, New York in 1969, Tommy Hilfiger has defined all-American cool and put his unique twist on classic preppy traditions for people around the world. Under Hilfiger’s guidance, vision, and leadership as Principal Designer, the Tommy Hilfiger Group has become one of the few globally-recognized brands for apparel, accessories and home. Hilfiger introduced his first signature collection in 1985 by modernizing button-down shirts, chinos, and other time-honored classics with updated fits and details. The relaxed, youthful attitude of his first designs has remained a distinctive hallmark throughout all of Hilfiger’s subsequent collections. The business has grown from a single menswear collection in 1985 to a global lifestyle brand achieving over $6 billion dollars in retail sales in 2012. There are over 1,200 Tommy Hilfiger stores, in over 90 countries on 5 continents. In 1995, Hilfiger launched The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation in an effort to give back on a global scale through educational and cultural programs, including the Fresh Air Fund, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project, Breast Health International and, most recently, the Millennium Promise initiative to eliminate extreme poverty in Africa. In 2010, Millennium Promise named Hilfiger its first MDG (Millennium Development Goals) Global Leader. Hilfiger’s vast body of influence was honored in 2012 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which presented him with the CFDA’s prestigious Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award.
Tory Burch is a luxury lifestyle brand defined by classic American sportswear with an eclectic sensibility and attainable price point. It embodies the personal style and spirit of its CEO and designer, Tory Burch. The brand was launched in February 2004 as a lifestyle concept with multiple product categories, including ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes and jewelry. Tory Burch designed the first boutique in New York to feel more like a residential space than a traditional retail store. Key design elements featured in all boutiques include orange lacquer doors, mirrored walls and Lucite fixtures. Tory Burch is greatly influenced by the personal style of her parents Buddy and Reva Robinson. She also is inspired by her love of art, music, culture and travel, which is reflected in the collection. Graphic prints, bold colors and unique details are all signatures of the brand. Tory Burch has received several awards from the fashion industry, including the 2008 CFDA for Accessory Designer of the Year; 2007 Accessory Brand Launch of the Year from Accessories Council of Excellence; and 2005 Rising Star award from Fashion Group International. Burch was named one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women in the World in 2010. Blake Lively, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow and Hilary Swank have all worn the collection. In 2009, the Tory Burch Foundation was launched to support the economic empowerment of women and families. Through grants and micro-financing for women entrepreneurs, the foundation invests in the success and sustainability of women-owned small businesses. Through mentoring opportunities, it provides women with tools to achieve their aspirations as entrepreneurs and leaders. Please visit toryburchfoundation.org for more information. Born and raised in Valley Forge, just outside Philadelphia, Burch graduated from The University of Pennsylvania with a degree in art history and moved to New York to pursue a career in the fashion industry. She has worked for some of the most influential American designers, including Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang and Narciso Rodriguez at Loewe. Burch currently resides in New York City with her three sons. Tory Burch is available at freestanding Tory Burch stores across the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Latin America and Asia, on toryburch.com, and in over 1,000 select department and specialty stores worldwide.
7. BADGLEY MISCHKA
Mark Badgley and James Mischka have been hailed by Vogue as one of the “Top 10 American Designers” and as the darlings of the Hollywood set. The design duo has made their mark over the past two decades with glamorous, stylish and wearable evening wear and accessories. There is a unique synergy between the talented duo, who met while studying at Parsons School of Design in New York. They share a similar aesthetic about clothes and the way people dress. Both men spent time designing for leading names – Badgley for Donna Karan; Mischka, the men’s collection for WilliWear WilliSmith – before starting their own line. Mark and James joined forces to launch Badgley Mischka in 1988 and since the beginning Badgley Mischka has captivated the fashion press and prominent retailers around the world with their sophisticated style that caters to a younger, more modern couture customer, without forsaking women of any age. They have remained true to this design philosophy and the consistent integrity of their collections. Their timeless designs appeal to a range of fashionable women, including celebrities Madonna, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Sarah Jessica Parker and Ashley Judd. Mark and James’ designs are constructed of the finest fabrics and superior craftsmanship. There is always an element of interest, either in the silhouette or with luxurious detail. They have remained true to this design philosophy and the consistent integrity of their collections have pushed them to the forefront of fashion. “Our style harks back to the glamorous Hollywood of the Forties” says Mischka. “The Badgley Mischka signature style is simple, streamlined and thoroughly elegant.” “One zip and you’re glamorous!” says Badgley. “We like to keep things effortless. It’s fabulous if you can spend hours getting ready, but a woman should also be able to bring a dress to work and change there for an evening out.” Badgley Mischka is sold in the most prestigious stores in the world including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue in addition to Badgley Mischka boutiques in Beverly Hills and New York.
8.MM6 MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA
MM6 Maison Martin Margiela Garments for another vision of Maison Martin Margiela’s take on feminity. A daily and younger contemporary approach to fashion in which prints, soft volume and ease play a key role. These garments draw their inspiration from and lend themselves to the more casual moments of life, often with a humoristic twist. MM6 Maison Martin Margiela is made of garments, shoes and accessories.
9.DIESEL BLACK GOLD
You don’t have to be an alchemist to break down the different components of Diesel Black Gold. We can describe it as a love affair between refined quality and rock & roll. Translated into a contemporary collection that takes all the attributes and expertise of Diesel and pushes them to a new level of excellence. New twists to traditional garments, iconic blends of past and future, artfully distressed denim and leather, and the craftsmanship of tailoring are some of the signatures of Diesel Black Gold that imbue the products with an authentic vintage feel and a sophisticated, contemporary image. Diesel Black Gold is the ultimate rock chic for those who understand that style has nothing to do with uniformity.
Many of the world’s most stylish women are devotees to one of the biggest names in fashion: Naeem Khan. Committed to adorning elegant women in clothes befitting their refinement, his glittering fan base of starlets and socialites includes Beyonce, Penelope Cruz, Lea Michele, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Emily Blunt, Kate Beckinsale, Katy Perry, First Lady Michelle Obama and Queen Noor of Jordan, and his designs have graced the silver screen in fashion film classics like Sex & the City and Dreamgirls. His luxurious collection consists of impeccably cut dresses, sophisticated gowns and chic separates – all embroidered by hand. Khan was born in India and grew up surrounded by the beauty of its culture, architecture, history and design. He cultivated his vast knowledge of textiles under the watchful eyes of his grandfather and father, both well known in India for designing intricate clothing worn by the royal families. As a child, he was mesmerized by the handwork produced in their workshops, and always knew he wanted to be part of their intensely visual medium. As a teenager, Khan moved to the United States and apprenticed for Halston, where he absorbed the ethos of modern restraint, and the secrets of draping and cutting fabric to create a clean, elegant, timeless silhouette. Between the equally opulent but aesthetically opposite worlds of his father and Halston, Khan’s style was nurtured and his aesthetic was born. He launched his eponymous collection, Naeem Khan, in 2003 and began selling at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Since then the collection has grown to be sold at more than 100 specialty stores across the world. His runway shows are among the most anticipated events of New York fashion week. In 2008, Naeem Khan was inducted as a member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America. Naeem debuted a collection for HSN, TIMELESS by Naeem Khan, in October 2009, which sold out within moments of his first appearance on the network. The line is sold exclusively via HSN and consists of cocktail dresses and separates. An extension of the TIMELESS collection, a Tissavel faux fur line including hats, scarves, vests and coats, launched in November 2011. Naeem Khan Bridal launched in October 2013 and is being sold at top stores globally, including Bergdorf Goodman and Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier in New York, Neiman Marcus in Dallas, and Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.
11. PAMELLA ROLAND
Pamella Roland channels her artistic appreciation and creativity into all of her collections, finding inspiration throughout her life and the world at large. Pamella launched the line in 2002 and, in the last decade the collection has become one of the leading evening wear resources in the country, as well as a brand of choice among style icons and celebrities. Pamella was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2010. Pamella’s love for fashion, art and business has been consistent throughout her work. After completing her business management degree, she began her career in marketing and public relations and a few years later, moved to Japan where she quickly put her passion for art and business to work when she was chosen to direct all public relations efforts for the prestigious National Art Show of the College Women’s Association of Japan. Upon returning to the U.S., she continued to build and manage investments, exploring new opportunities in both business and the arts, melding the two whenever possible. Pamella’s career exploded when she debuted her first collection at New York Fashion Week, applying her passion for art and commerce to the successful launch of her own fashion business. Now in the company’s 11th year in business, Pamella continues to be the lead creative force behind the label, while also overseeing the business side of the operation. She plays a major role in every facet of the business, from choosing every silhouette, shape, fabric, and color, to directing sales, hiring staff, and managing all public relations and marketing efforts. “I make it a point to travel to as many points of distribution as possible to meet my customers…I wear these clothes and can relate to what my customers want from their wardrobes…This is valuable information that I truly channel into the design process.” In addition to designing the collection and serving as president of the brand, Pamella dedicates herself to many philanthropic causes, including serving as Vice President of the Board of Trustees at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
12. BETSEY JOHNSON
New York designer Betsey Johnson has built her long-standing career in fashion by following her own set of rules. Known for her celebration of the exuberant, the embellished, and the over the top, Betsey has been rocking the fashion industry with her unique and original designs since the 1960’s. Her commitment to remain true to her one-of-a-kind vision has afforded Betsey continued success in an industry known for its fickleness. Her ability to change with the times while keeping her designs pure has not gone unnoticed. At the 1999 CFDA Awards, Betsey was presented The Timeless Talent Award created especially for her, which recognized her influence on fashion throughout her career. Betsey was born in Connecticut and spent her childhood in dance classes. Her aspirations to be a dancer and her love for costumes laid the foundation for Betsey’s creativity and inspiration, which is still evident in her designs today. In 1964, Betsey officially entered the New York fashion scene by winning Mademoiselle magazine’s “Guest Editor Contest.” One year later, she landed the top designer position for Paraphernalia, a clothing boutique that at the time housed the hottest young London designers, including Mary Quant and Paco Rabanne, among others. What would soon become known as Betsey’s trademark look began its formulations here: sexy silhouettes, hippie inspired flowing fabrics, whimsical detailing and, most importantly, a fabulous fit. Now firmly part of what was considered the “Youth Quake,” Betsey soon found herself in the unforgettable 1960’s Warhol scene. Edie Sedgwick was her house model, while the Velvet Underground’s John Cale took to wearing her designs both on-stage and off. In 1969, Betsey began her foray into retail by opening a new boutique called Betsey Bunki Nini. Directly following the opening store Betsey was offered a job from Alvin Duskin in San Francisco and thus began living a bi-coastal life for the remaining years of the 60’s. Along with the new decade came new career opportunities for Betsey and in the early 1970’s, she came into creative control of the label Alley Cat, a label which set the trends for the 70’s rock n’ roll clothing, with bohemian and ethnic styles. In 1972, along with Halston, Betsey won the coveted Coty Award becoming the youngest designer to ever receive the honor. After a decade of designing for other labels, Betsey decided to make a dramatic change in her life and in 1978, she formed a partnership with Chantal Bacon and started the Betsey Johnson label, as it is known today. Designing for herself allowed Betsey the creative freedom to execute her vision to its fullest potential. The same year Betsey and Chantal launched their first retail store in the heart of Soho. In the early 80’s, they were one of the first to open a store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, helping the street to gain its worldwide recognition as one of the best shopping areas of the 1980’s. Today there are over sixty-five Betsey Johnson stores worldwide. International expansion came in 1998 with the opening of the wildly popular London store. In 1999 the Vancouver store opened marking the company’s first move into Canada, where there are now four locations in various provinces. In September 2006, the first Betsey Johnson store opened in Japan. Betsey Johnson clothing is also available in better department stores as well as in specialty stores throughout the United States and numerous countries around the world. The year 2003 marked some exciting licensing endeavors for the company, taking Betsey’s signature prints and whimsy to new audiences with categories including handbags and lingerie. She continued this trend and has since added footwear, belts, eyewear, watches, jewelry, swimwear, leg wear, outerwear and a fragrance thus effectively emerging as not only a clothing designer but a top American Lifestyle brand. In late 2002, Betsey was honored with an induction into the Fashion Walk of Fame, honoring her contribution to American fashion. A bronze and granite plaque containing an original sketch, signature and biography was embedded into Seventh Avenue sidewalk in early 2003. In March 2005, the Signature Awards and NAWBO-NYC committee honored Betsey with the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award. And following that, Betsey received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Accessories Council in November 2005. Betsey Johnson was also honored with the Designer of the Year Award at the annual Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball (FABB) in May 2007 and was recently honored with the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in Fashion in October 2009. A survivor of breast cancer, Betsey continues to be a strong advocate in the fight against the disease, making public appearances, participating in numerous fundraising events and creating one-of-a-kind items that have been auctioned off to raise funds for many charities. In 2003, the CFDA asked her to be an Honorary Chairperson for the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer initiative, which she graciously accepted. In April of 2004, she was awarded another honor by the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) for her continuous fight against Breast Cancer at a prestigious ceremony hosted by Ron Perelman. In spring of 04, she teamed up with Geralyn Lucas, the author of the book “Why I Wore Lipstick…to my Mastectomy,” designing an accompanying t-shirt which was launched in Betsey Johnson stores nationwide in October 2004 at a series of events called “Courage Nights.” Courage Night continued for its second year in October 2005 where CFDA Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and SELF Magazine joined the cause. Johnson continues to support, hosting a charity event each October in her boutiques nationwide and internationally, as well as creating limited edition products from which a portion of the proceeds are donated to various breast cancer related charities. Betsey Johnson, both the woman and the label, is constantly moving forward and continues to keep a strong foothold in the fashion industry with no signs of letting up anytime soon. Her love of detail and design is evident in everything she does in life and in business. Her enthusiasm, creativity and boundless talent that have kept her at the forefront of fashion for the past 45 years will keep Betsey going for years to come. “Making clothes involves what I like…color, pattern, shape and movement…I like the everyday process…the people, the pressure, the surprise of seeing the work come alive walking and dancing around on strangers. Like red lipstick on the mouth, my products wake up and brighten and bring the wearer to life…drawing attention to her beauty and specialness…her moods and movements…her dreams and fantasies.” – Betsey Johnson As one journalist recently quoted, “If Betsey Johnson didn’t exist, we would have to invent her, simply to remind ourselves that fashion can be fun. She’s the original wild child and set to paint the town pink!”
Anna Sui’s collections take you on a creative journey that is unparalleled in the world of fashion. Mixing vintage styles with her current cultural obsessions, she effortlessly makes hip and exuberant original clothes. Whether Anna’s inspiration is Victorian cowboys, Warhol superstars or Finnish textile prints, her depth of cultural knowledge is always apparent. “When I’m interested in something, I want to know everything about it,” she says, “I need to know what’s behind it all. I really enjoy that process.” Anna’s constant search for new ideas and challenges keeps her ahead of her times. She’s a true trendsetter to whom stylists and editors look for direction. The boundless energy and creative ingenuity of her runway presentations always make her shows a high point of New York Fashion Week. The career of Anna Sui is a classic American success story. “You have to focus on your dreams, even if they go beyond common sense. How could this young girl from the suburbs of Detroit become a success in New York? It was always that dream,” she says. Today Anna Sui has over 50 boutiques in eight countries and her collection is sold in 300 stores in over 30 countries. Anna still has the same love of fashion that she did when she was a little girl. At age four, she decided that she would become a designer and started to make her own clothes. She mixed a very serious approach to learning her craft with eccentric ideas, such as vowing to not to wear the same outfit twice in one year. “I was completely obsessed,” she says, “I don’t know how my parents put up with me.” Before the end of her senior high school year, she was accepted to Parsons School of Design in New York. After two years at Parsons, Anna styled with friend Steven Meisel and designed for several sportswear companies before launching her first collection in 1981. Anna Sui’s business continued to grow throughout the 1980s, and in 1991 she premiered her first runway show. The following year she opened her first flagship store on Greene Street in Soho. The boutique’s vibrant mix of black Victorian furniture, purple walls, papier mache dollyheads and rock n’ roll posters closely reflects Anna Sui’s personal decorating style and has been the model for all of her shops. The late 1990s was a time of significant growth for Anna Sui; she embarked upon a hugely successful expansion in the Far East, where she quickly established a huge cult following. She also launched cosmetics, fragrance, shoe and accessory licenses. Her devotion to detail is apparent in every one of her products, which are all intimately connected to her world. Her iconic make-up packaging and fragrance bottle design have even become collectors’ items. Anna Sui is known for her commitment to the things that move her. Her devotion to rock and roll makes her clothes perfect for a rock and roll superstar, and her runway soundtrack is one of the most anticipated each season. Her love for shopping has made her an authority on the best shopping in every city, and her passion for interior design created a visually stunning NYC apartment. Following her own inspiration, Anna Sui continues to inspire. She is living her dream.
14. ERIN FETHERSTON
Erin Fetherston is an American designer from San Francisco, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley before attending Parson's School of Design. In January 2005, she first presented her eponymous label during the Paris Haute Couture Shows
15. B. MICHAEL AMERICA
Fashion designer B Michael was born and raised in Durham, Connecticut. His mother was a real estate agent and his father, a certified public accountant. B Michael found early design inspirations in his mother’s creativity and keen sense of style. He attended the University of Connecticut and also studied at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology. B Michael was first hired as an account executive for a Wall Street firm, but decided to pursue a career as a millinery designer. He started designing hats under Oscar de la Renta, Louis Feraud, and Nolan Miller for the 1980s television soap opera Dynasty. Following his success on the show, B Michael became creative director for the Aldo Hat Corporation. In 1989, he decided to launch his namesake millinery line and in 1999 developed and launched his first couture collection with the help of PR Guru Eleanor Lambert. B Michael’s collections have garnered appreciative fans including socialites and personalities such as Cicely Tyson, Ashley Bouder, Amy Fine Collins, Tamara Tunie, Beyoncé, Nancy Wilson, Susan Fales-Hill, President Barack Obama’s poet laureate Elizabeth Alexander, and Lena Horne, among many others. He also designed Whitney Houston’s costumes for the motion picture, Sparkle. He has shown his b michael AMERICA Couture collection in Beijing, China, Korea and Shanghai, and his ready to wear fashion line b michael AMERICA RED sells in Macy’s department stores across the United States. In 1998, B Michael was granted membership in the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). He has served as a guest lecturer at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He also serves on the advisory boards of Dream Yard Project, YAGP (Youth America Grand Prix) and the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts. In addition to his work and community activism, B Michael is an avid collector of vintage books, artifacts and photography. B Michael lives in New York City with is life partner Mark-Anthony Edwards and has two daughters, Saferra and Mychal.
16. RALPH LAUREN
“I have always had a clear vision. I wanted to develop quality products and create a whole world around that. It means taking risks, going with what you feel, but never losing sight of your vision and conviction.”- Ralph Lauren With these words, Ralph Lauren defines the philosophy upon which he has built a global lifestyle brand representing the best in American design, exemplified by understated sophistication and the utmost attention to detail. Ralph Lauren is one of the world’s most innovative design and business leaders, and a cultural icon who has built a multi-billion dollar global brand over the past 40 years. A true fashion icon, Ralph Lauren’s career has spanned four decades that have resulted in numerous unique tributes for his role within the industry. Lauren is the only designer to receive the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) four highest honors – the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award, the Menswear Designer of the Year Award, the Retailer of the Year Award, as well as the CFDA’s Humanitarian Leadership Award. In June 2007, the CFDA awarded Lauren the first ever American Fashion Legend Award and in 2009 he received the inaugural CFDA “Popular Vote Award”. In celebration of his contribution to American style, he was also among the first designers inducted into the Fashion Walk of Fame in June 2000. Beyond the accolades he has received for his mark on the industry, Lauren is also recognized for his strong commitment to philanthropy, both personally and corporately. After helping create the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown University with the late Katherine Graham in 1989, he led the fashion industry in its support of breast cancer research with the CFDA initiative Fashion Targets Breast Cancer in 1994. Lauren also founded the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation. Established in April 2001, it supports initiatives that benefit cancer care and prevention, educational and volunteering programs for underserved communities. Among the corporation’s major philanthropic commitments are Pink Pony, the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, and Save America’s Treasures. Lauren has also been acknowledged for his groundbreaking initiatives in sports marketing, website and mobile technology, as well as his signature cinematic advertising campaigns and retail concepts. For over 42 years, Ralph Lauren has cultivated the iconography of America into a global lifestyle empire. Whether it is a reflection of the New England coast, Native American culture, or Hollywood glamour—Ralph Lauren embodies an expression of timeless style that is recognized and coveted around the world. Today, the Company is a leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in four categories: apparel, home, accessories and fragrances. The Company’s brand names, which include Polo by Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Ralph Lauren Collection, Black Label, Blue Label, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, RRL, RLX, Rugby, Ralph Lauren Childrenswear, American Living, Chaps and Club Monaco, constitute one of the most widely recognized families of consumer brands. Polo Ralph Lauren operates over 300 stores worldwide, with recent international expansion in Dubai, Korea, and Paris.
17. J. MENDEL
J. Mendel, a fifth-generation French atelier, has evolved into a global luxury fashion house under the auspices of creative director Gilles Mendel. Founded in St. Petersburg in the 1870s as furriers to the Russian aristocracy, the house of J. Mendel relocated to Paris’s famed rue Saint-Honoré following the Russian Revolution. Gilles Mendel took the helm as designer and CEO in 1981, having apprenticed in his family’s Paris atelier under his father, Jacques. Committed to taking his ancestors’ legacy of exceptional quality, savoir-faire and uncompromising luxury to a broader stage, Gilles opened his first J. Mendel Boutique at Elizabeth Arden’s Fifth Avenue Salon in New York City. Quickly attracting a devoted clientele, he relocated his collections to a free-standing J. Mendel boutique at 723 Madison Avenue, an uptown landmark since it opened its doors in 1985. In October 2013, the company expanded to a larger flagship boutique located at 787 Madison Avenue. Known for combining the highest quality materials and impeccable craftsmanship with a modern, award-winning design sensibility, Gilles Mendel evolved the company from a luxury fur atelier to a fully-fledged fashion house with the launch of ready-to-wear in 2002. Setting J. Mendel apart from other U.S. based brands, the company maintains two ateliers in the heart of New York City, where the fur, ready-to-wear and couture creations are produced. More recently, Gilles Mendel introduced J. Mendel accessories, handbags, and home furnishings. In recognition of his achievements in women’s fashion, Mendel was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2003 and received the prestigious Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2011. Gilles Mendel’s signature luxe-femininity and effortless elegance have made the house of J. Mendel a red-carpet favorite among international royalty and Hollywood stars alike. His collections are carried at the finest stores across the globe. Known for combining the highest quality materials and impeccable craftsmanship with a modern, award-winning design sensibility, Gilles Mendel evolved the company from a luxury fur atelier to a fully-fledged fashion house with the launch of ready-to-wear in 2002. Setting J. Mendel apart from other U.S. based brands, the company maintains two ateliers in the heart of New York City, where the fur, ready-to-wear and couture creations are produced. More recently, Gilles Mendel introduced J. Mendel accessories, handbags, and home furnishings. In recognition of his achievements in women’s fashion, Mendel was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2003 and received the prestigious Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2011. Gilles Mendel’s signature luxe-femininity and effortless elegance have made the house of J. Mendel a red-carpet favorite among international royalty and Hollywood stars alike. His collections are carried at the finest stores across the globe.
18. MONIQUE LHUILLIER
Monique Lhuillier designs capture the essence of sophisticated luxury by provoking femininity, allure, and glamour that have made her renowned in the world of design. Monique’s innate sense of style is prevalent throughout her bridal and ready-to-wear collections. Monique’s love for fashion has been a lifelong passion. Growing up in the Philippines, Monique’s early experiences with fashion took place alongside her mother whose own sense of personal style and elegance were major influences for the designer. Enamored by fashion, Monique was encouraged to pursue her dream of becoming a designer. At a young age, she moved to Los Angeles to devote time to her craft and attend the Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising. The delightful fantasy of special occasions, especially weddings, has always inspired Monique Lhuillier. While studying at FIDM, this natural inclination towards bridal and evening gowns led Monique to her niche. It was also during her time at FIDM that Monique met her husband, Tom Bugbee. In 1995, while searching for her own bridal gown, Monique was surprised by the lack of fashionable bridal options. This void in the market reignited her passion to create couture bridal gowns that transcended styles available to women in search of the perfect dress. In 1996, Monique debuted her first bridal collection to acclaim from retailers and magazine editors. The following year, Tom joined the company as CEO and turned Monique’s vision of a couture design house into reality. Their partnership has grown the business into one of the most successful brands internationally which now includes a ready-to-wear collection and an array of licensed categories. In 2003, Monique was inducted as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Recognized internationally as one of the foremost fashion designers, Monique has dressed celebrities and important political figures such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore and the First Lady Michelle Obama.Monique and Tom live in Los Angeles with their two children, Jack and Sophia. Monique’s career in fashion is enriched by her strong dedication to family and commitment to philanthropic efforts.
19. CARMEN MARC VALVO
Carmen grew up in Westchester County, New York. His father was an anesthesiologist and mother, a nurse. In the Valvo home, traditional children’s story and coloring books were supplemented with educational and anatomy related volumes in hopes their son would follow in the family footsteps. This is where Carmen first developed the formative knowledge of the female figure that would later help him to become such a successful and intuitive designer. His artistic spirit revealed itself early on through his passion for oil painting and portraiture as well as fashion illustration. Before heading to Vienna where he hoped to pursue his artistic dreams, Carmen first attended the Fine Arts program at Manhattanville College. While traveling throughout Europe and exploring the rich cultural tapestry of centuries-old historic cities and quaint countryside, and becoming proficient in several languages, fate intervened – Carmen was injured in a car accident and returned to the States to recover. Finally realizing his true passion had always lay in fashion design, he set his sights on a career he thought was only a fantasy and enrolled in Parsons School of Design. Upon leaving Parsons School of Design, Carmen’s first position was with Bill Atkinson in mid-1970. However, Carmen’s real professional career began with an offer to work in Paris with the house of Nina Ricci. This was followed by a position with Christian Dior in the same city. Dior is where he established his true sense of the couture aesthetic, which so embodies all of his works to date. By 1989 he was ready to launch his own label. With only a few thousand dollars, he fearlessly pulled together a collection to show to department and specialty stores at the fall fashion market in New York. His collection was an instant success and was bought by several top stores. But it was his evening-wear, his true passion, which captured the hearts of buyers at both Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Having established a solid reputation as one of 7th Avenue’s most noteworthy independent brands with his Black Label Collection, Carmen launched Carmen Marc Valvo Couture in 1998. After years of working in the Parisian ateliers, Carmen was finally able to truly utilize his skill and experience to create his celebrity clientele the original Carmen Marc Valvo creations that they so desired. Twice each year during New York Fashion Week, Carmen’s Couture collection is presented showcasing his extraordinary craftsmanship. Since then he has been exploring his soul’s desire to bring glamorous dressing to every woman’s life through his eponymous Collection, whose enchanting designs have become synonymous with grace and refinement. Today his elegant eveningwear collection is a fixture at fine department stores throughout the world. Carmen’s label also appears on his highly sought-after clothing and accessory lines – including swimwear, eyewear, footwear and fur, which reflect the designer’s artistic sensibility. “While other designers seek to shock, Valvo’s creations shine in the marketplace.” -TIME magazine In 2011, Carmen brought his talents from the design studio to the printed page with the publication of his book, Dressed to Perfection: The Art of Dressing for Your Red Carpet Moments (Rizzoli). This book captures Carmen’s unique perspective on design and silhouettes, offering expert insights and advice for dressing for all seasons and body types, for women everywhere who want to look their best. The designer also shares his personal sources of inspiration, from the idyllic private hideaway that refreshes his creative energies, to the women who inspire his creations. “Over the years, the designer has demonstrated the talent to do it all.” -Women’s Wear Daily Most recently, Carmen joined forces with H.H. Brown Shoe Company to create the exclusive Carmen Marc Valvo Calzature collection produced in Italy as well as the Carmen Marc Valvo collection: the designer’s first-ever foray into footwear of this magnitude. Today, the Carmen Marc Valvo lifestyle brand is made up of several collections. Through special licensing partnerships, each top-tier company contributes a unique component that embodies the integrity and vision of Carmen Marc Valvo. Swimwear – Swimwear Anywhere since 2005 Eyewear and Sunglasses – Signature Eyewear since 2007 Fur – BC International Group since 2010 Knitwear – Republic Clothing Group since 2011 Shoes – H.H. Brown Shoe Company since 2012 Each one of Carmen’s elegant designs combines classic artistry and refinement in striking silhouettes designed to enhance and complement the inherent beauty of the female form. His unique ability to highlight a woman’s best features through the flawless execution of color and fabric has made him a favorite of celebrities seeking an unforgettable special event look. Over the past 24 years, Carmen’s stunning cocktail dresses and breathtaking couture gowns have graced some of the world’s most glamorous and talented women.
1.NICOLE MILLER Iconic American designer Nicole Miller’s designs are elegant with a hint of rebellion. Born to a French mother, Miller was trained at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. 1.NICOLE MILLER Iconic American designer Nicole Miller’s designs are elegant with a hint of rebellion. Born to a French mother, Miller was trained at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris.