“Fashion changes, but style endures”, said the great fashion goddess Coco Chanel. With every change in season come bizarre new fashion trends which you are forced to comply with to pass off as fashionable among the haute ton. Some of these trends are actually nice. Mod, retro, rocker, vintage… But generically speaking, how much of what you see on the runway can you actually imagine adapting for your own and wearing on the streets? Would you wear mountain block sandals, seriously flammable hair or clothes made of meat? Fluorescent nylon, Maori beads or 80’s accessories sound appealing? Yeah, neither to me. I don’t mean to offend anyone who would prefer any of the above mentioned sartorial choices. My point is not to criticize fashion, but the blind followers of it. My personal inspiration of fashion comes not from glossy magazines which gives distorted versions of it, neither the runways of Paris or New York with which I can identify very little. Fashion is not a tool with which a woman adheres herself to the rest of the world. It is one with which she stands out. Thus my inspiration comes from very real women, some in the glamour business, some not. Different as they may be from one another, they all have one thing in common. When it comes to matters of fashion, their style is strictly their own. Not ruled by seasonal changes and swinging moods of cultural criticism, these women wear what they like best. Not what others think looks good on them. And it is for that reason, more than their exquisite sartorial preferences, that they are the ten most stylish women in the world. They have resilience, grit and attitude. Their style is defined by their substance. After all Audrey Hepburn, another amazing fashion Goddess whose style is worshipped to this day said, “Why change? Everybody has his own style. When you have found it, you should stick to it.”
10. Kate Moss
When it was revealed that the world’s favourite supermodel was addicted to drugs and needed to be admitted to rehab, all her fans were so very disappointed. What came as a bigger shock was that when she came out of rehab all clean and sober, the world’s leading designers and agencies were dying to hire her. Parents, teachers and adults all over thought this reflected extreme poor judgment since little girls everywhere will think its okay to do drugs. What’s more, they will think it’s cool and you will be rewarded for it. But Kate didn’t let such deterrents her way. She stuck to what she does best and sashayed down the runway, not letting critics and naysayers get to her. Her style did all the talking. Rocker chic jackets, biker and grunge elements, ripped tees and hippie flower child gowns showcase the dark and tumultuous side of her persona. Now she has put those unfortunate incidents behind her. Happily married with a daughter she adores, Kate Moss is no longer the wild child. But her style fortunately is.
9. Alexa Chung
Noel Fielding said, “Nobody wants a real job anymore. Everybody wanted to be Alexa Chung.” Model turned television presenter Alexa Jung is one of those enviable people who seems to be doing it all. She writes and hosts her own show, is a beauty editor at Vogue and is the face of DKNY Jeans. She was also the face of Pepe Jeans. She was voted the world’s best dresses woman by Teen Vogue, beating contenders like Katy Perry and Kristen Stewart. Her bohemian vintage dressing choices look ethereal on the blonde beauty. But she can carry off androgynous edgy fashion with equal aplomb. However her most enviable asset is the killer wit and attitude that has enabled her to achieve so much at the young age of 29.
8. Blake Lively
Barely 25 years old, this blonde leggy lass has been winning fashion accolades since her teens, both on and off screen, for her impossibly perfectly and tousled style choices. Lively first came to the be noticed for portraying rich Manhattan teen Serena Van Der Woodsen and her glamorous life on the iconic show Gossip Girl. Thanks to six years of playing such a fabulous character, her style diary was jam packed with the most enviable choices. But Blake showed us she can do regular girl with élan as well. She was a part of the critically acclaimed Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants set of movies. Ever since Gossip Girl came to a close on telly, she has been featured in a string of high profile Hollywood blockbusters. But her most famous fashion achievement to date has the beautiful rose gold understated wedding gown she wore while getting hitched to Hollywood’s then most eligible bachelor, Ryan Reynolds.
7. Queen Rania
The exquisite queen of Jordan, Rania is an icon and trendsetter for many reasons. Fashion is just one of them. Her tireless crusade for education for all children, equality for all genders and efforts to end hunger and poverty not just in her country but all over the world has got her a tremendous fan following. But unlike other Middle Eastern female royals who have very little say in how the state is run, she is an equal partner of her husband King Abdullah and together they rule the most prosperous and happy kingdom in the Middle East- Jordan. Rather than bowing to conservative dictats and covering up heat to toe, her style remains conservative but graceful, royal and elegant. Modest hemlines, elegant gowns, fifties silhouettes and skirts and suits comprise most of her finery. She is said to be the most well dressed royal next to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. But given that she has been in the game far longer than she, we would consider giving her the crown (pun intended).
6. Sonam Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor took the Indian fashion world by storm when she made her debut with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Saawariya” in 2007. The daughter of actor Anil Kapoor, her vintage vixen avatar was so very different from the usual fare of sarees, cholis and gowns that mst Indian actresses stuck to. Here was a girl who was as addicted to Karl Lagerfield and Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow as she was to Anamika Khanna and Prabal Gurung. Her fashion knowledge, ranging from Japan’s androgynous history to Parisian vintage chic, was so astounding that even seasoned editors of Vogue and Elle wanted to learn from her. Since 2007 to now, she is being consistently placed on every best dressed list in India and the world. Her John Paul Gaultier gown on Cannes red carpet last year won her a ticket to every A list even that year. But that was nothing compared to her exquisite avatar of a quintessential Indian Heroine on Cannes 2013 to celebrate a hundred years of Indian Cinema.
5. Lady Gaga
Dresses made of meat, nipple covers as tops, bow made of her own hair, teetering platforms as shoes, lobsters as fascinators, homemade bathing suits and many other highly dangerous sounding elements constitute the wardrobe of the inimitable Lady Gaga. Inimitable she may be but her style icon status is not any bit reduced because of that. In fact, it is reinforced because of it. Through her songs, her fashion and her very life, Lady Gaga urges you to be bold and fearless, to live without inhibitions and to let your soul breathe. Her wacky, bizarre and outright outrageous clothes and accessories simply cannot be ignored. The pride she takes in being herself is a valuable lesson she imparts to the world through her music.
4. Emma Watson
Being the Harry Potter star that she is, Emma Watson has literally grown up before our eyes and we have seen her go from an adorable little child stare into the lovely and stylish confident young woman. From wearing little frocks to premier parties, that she always shone in, her fashion choices of today reflect her more mature and eclectic personality. Her style file is as edgy and classic as the characters she portrays on screen. As long as she was playing Hermione Granger, she remained true to the character by appearing sweet, feminine, classic and glamorous on the red carpet. But now having been Sam in “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” and the rebellious Nicki in Sofia Coppola’s acclaimed, “The Bling Ring”, she has chosen to discard the safe and sweet image and goes around displaying a much more rocker chic, edgy and free style personality that is being imitated by young girls around the world. However, though she loves fashion very much, she has stated the importance of academics in her life to be much higher. Therefore, when not attending to her Hollywood duties, she can be seen in jeans and t shirts or slacks, sans make up, going to classes at Brown University from where she wuill graduate next year.
3. Kate Middleton
On 27th April 2011, 2 billion people across the globe held their breath for Miss Kate Middleton to alight from her royal carriage because they were dying to see her wedding gown. The days leading up to her wedding, speculations had been rife as to who she was wearing and how she would be styled on her wedding day. Though her glossy brown curls were the envy of women all over, nearly everyone thought her hair would be up in a bun. A royal bride having her hair down in church was unthinkable. But that’s Kate Middleton for you, now known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Her beautiful white Chantilly lace wedding gown, designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen’s quickly became the most iconic wedding dress of all time, even beating Grace Kelly’s record when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. Her everyday style is as iconic as her luxurious special appearances. She wears inexpensive no fuss pieces off the rack, rarely going for exclusive couture pieces. Anything that she is seen in is sold out within the hour, leading her to being dubbed as fashion gold. The sapphire blue Issa dress she was wearing while her engagement with Prince William was announced to the world, sold out in a matter of seconds! It is estimated that by wearing exclusively British brands, the Duchess has helped boost Britain’s economy by three billion pounds. Now that she is pregnant with the heir to the throne, her maternity style is also creating ripples across the ocean.
2. Hilary Clinton
Unlike many of her contemporaries, Hilary Clinton joined the twitter bandwagon only recently. And her twitter bio reads, “Hair Icon, Pantsuit Aficionado, Glass Ceiling Cracker”. When she branched out from simply being a First Lady to being in the race for President herself, and then becoming US Secretary of State, fashion magazines everywhere were humourously critical of her fashion choices. Her short hair and dependence on pant suits were taken to be signs of a woman completely devoid of fashion skills and many thought calling her “manly” would an affront to her sartorial skills and she would finally start looking and dressing more feminine. All those idiotic critics are silent now, as her powerful and funny personality have changed the way the game is played. She is applauded for her no fuss, clean and minimalistic style and her haircut is a top request to hairdressers everywhere. Her work speaks volumes and her style is a perfect accompaniment to her ambitions. Anyone unsure of the way they look and dress need to look to her for inspiration. Because here is a woman who knows her mind.
1. Michelle Obama
First Ladies of USA have always been stylish and graceful to a fault. Think of Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Betty Ford, Lady Bird Johnson and their trendsetting glory. And while all of these ladies have had glorious style, very few had Michelle Obama’s innate charm and vivacity. As far as the trendsetting goes, Michelle Obama is way ahead of others by being the first black First Lady. Her fashion choices also reveal that she has no interest in being just another member of the club, even if that club is as elite as the First Lady’s Club. Though her hemlines are conservative and her silhouettes classic, her style choices are bold, dramatic and bursting with colour. Shedding the pastels and the pearls aside, she wears little known designers and mixes high end pieces with inexpensive ones to create looks that are completely one of a kind. Rather than giving into trends and trying to look slim, Michelle takes pride in her big boned features. She wears clothes that highlight her strong body and beautiful African American features. By refusing to be a part of the ridiculous size zero fad, this gorgeous lady sends girls everywhere a strong and powerful message that transcends boundaries of mere fashion.