Find a school near you!

The Top 100 Most Influential Fashion Designers of 2012

Written by AnonymousFebruary 27, 2012

Of fame and fortune, people who were famous and fortunate used to say it's not what you know, it's who you know.  These days, celebrities are the first to admit it's not what you wear, it's who you wear.  World-class fashion designers are so influential that their popularity is beginning to (dare we say it?) overshadow the popularity of the celebrities who wear them.  “Hey, look over there!  It's What's-Her-Face in Vera Wang.” 

What does it mean to be influential?  We thought you'd never ask.  The influence of fashion designers can be determined by their success at recent major fashion shows, their recent and upcoming media appearances (including web presence) and their ability to get celebrities to wear their designs.  Here's an up-to-date report of the world's TOP 100 biggest, baddest (not to mention most influential) super heroes of fashion design, ranked in the order we think they deserve. 

ARIANNE PHILLIP100.  ARIANNE PHILLIP - What would a top 100 fashion designers list be without the current world champions of costume design?  Arianne Phillips won this year's Period Film prize at the Costume Designers Guild Awards for her work on “W.E.” which is Madonna's directorial debut.  Arianne's 1930s-era, Euro-styled constructions for Madonna's film have also earned her an Oscar nomination.  Arianne is now crafting costumes for Madonna's 2012 World Tour. 

JANY TEMIME99.  JANY TEMIME                                                                                      
Jany is not your run-of-the-mill, ready-to-wear, one-size-fits-all, cliche-regurgitating fashion designer.  This UK-based design superstar won the prize for Fantasy Film at this year's Costume Designers Guild Awards for her brilliantly understated-yet-thought-provoking designs in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II.”  Villains wear floor length capes and long-sleeved shirts with chin-high necklines in a palette of deep greens and black with crimson highlights.  The boys' wardrobe is a convincing selection of jeans, hoodies and denim jackets, with the occasional sports jacket or knit pullover, all awash in an unassuming palette of blacks, greys and dark neutrals.  The girls look adorable in brightly colored, red-carpet-worthy frocks hemmed just above the knee with wide, low necklines offering the kind of taboo cheesecake appeal that no filmmaker will admit to doing on purpose. 

TRISH SUMMERVILLE98.  TRISH SUMMERVILLE                                                                         
Another brilliant costume designer makes the list.  Trish recently snagged the Contemporary Film Prize at this year's Costume Designers Guild Awards for her punk flavored, street-wear-inspired garments in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”  Items from Trish's Dragon Tattoo line are currently available at H&M.  The collection features coolly-crafted leather jackets, denim cut-off vests and skin-tight leather pants with ribbing at the knees, as well as fingerless black leather gloves and high-top, lace-up work boots.  A color palette of black, grey and burgundy makes for a darkly appealing visual display.

MONDO GUERRA97.  MONDO GUERRA                                                                                 
Best known for fearlessly pairing colors that clash and prints we're not allowed to mix, Mondo was that brilliantly imaginative Project Runway contestant who EVERYONE knows should have won, and whose undeniably corrupt second place finish cost the show a lot of viewers.  Mondo's designs are entirely unique and impeccably executed.  His constructions have made red carpet appearances on none other than Heidi Klum.  In case you ever thought Mondo was “out” for real, he currently appears on Project Runway All-Stars and he'll be stopping by this year's Oscar ceremonies to critique celebrity fashions. 

SETH AARON HENDERSON96.  SETH AARON HENDERSON                                                               
Seth Aaron was the winner of that rarest of Project Runway seasons when two equal but opposite design geniuses battled it out for first place.  Seth's ready-to-wear collections have a distinctively rebellious, futuristic funk featuring a palette of mostly black and white with splashes of primary yellow and red.  Angular, pointed architectural forms and slanted front closures add a healthy dose of ultra modern flavor.  Seth's construction is impeccable, especially in the tapering of his form flattering jackets.  Seth will appear in an upcoming season of Project Runway All-Stars later this year.  As a point of interest but not that it matters, Seth Aaron appears to be one of the few straight male fashion designers to ever appear on Project Runway, or anywhere else.  Just kidding, Ralph Lauren!  Our apologies to your wife and kids.

EMILIO SOSA95.  EMILIO SOSA                                                                                        
Best known as an award winning Broadway costume designer, Emilio earned a heart-breaking second place finish in Season 7 of Project Runway.  Emilio became known on the show for his breath-takingly gorgeous red-carpet-style designs.  His best effort was a copper-colored evening gown so airy it moved like liquid metal and somewhat resembled a hologram.  However, Emilio Sosa is by no means a one-trick pony.  His 2012 collection, presented during this year's New York Fashion Week and entitled “Urban-Geisha,” features skirts, pants and tops in a color palette of royal blue, turquoise, red, orange and black.  The collection coheres with its well-defined lines, sleek silhouettes, offbeat constructions and subtle Japanese print motifs. 

Best known for her bridal collections, the latest garments from this Ethiopian designer are made exclusively for Nordstrom.  Amsale's designs have drawn the attention of celebs like Gabrielle Union, who recently displayed a strapless, black chiffon cocktail dress with a twisted bodice and sequined cut-away skirt detailing.  Fun and festive with playful sex appeal.

This designer is best known for his fluttery silk chiffon dresses in colors bold and bright.  Obando's unusual pigments include chartreuse and orange crush.  Viola Davis attended a 2012 Oscar nominees luncheon exuding joyous-yet-understated power in a fuchsia, knee-length halter dress with bows at the waist and neck.  Signature Obando construction, not to mention color. 

A Beirut designer whose ready-to-wear collections include, in his own words, “designs women can wear more than once.”  Guilian Rancic appeared at this year's Grammys in a strapless, satiny black mini dress with appealing structural folds, offset with a slender, multicolored belt.  Joy Williams attended the same event in a black, short-sleeved gown with a thigh-high slit and a sheer bodice with leafy black embroidered detailing on the sleeves and shoulders.  

This popular Australian designer counts Judy Greer and Rachel McAdams among her most recent red-carpet-walking clients.  Judy projected a ready innocence at the SAG awards in an alluring white, short-sleeved gown with sweet textural details.  Rachel recently showcased a black and grey, narrow-hemmed calf-length dress with black embroidered textural detailing and a simple black belt.  The garment creates a form-flattering, fuss-free silhouette.