Fashion has always liked its style icons, whether it’s the way a movie star dresses for a signature role, their off camera ensembles, or the way a singer, model or any other public figure wears their hair, presents their make-up, or showcases any other visual version of themselves. Some of the oldest and most iconic looks stay firmly locked within their era – although many of the sartorial, elegant, cool, hot, quirky or idiosyncratic takes on fashion come around and around and keep influencing the style choices of fashionistas of the future. Here’s a look at some of the best female fashion figures from the past century.
The Swedish star retired right at the peak of her career, but for decades afterwards her 1920s and 1930s screen persona and cool, collected style became her longest hallmark.
Lauren Bacall (1940s)
Born Betty Joan Perske, the restyled Lauren Bacall was as famous for her husband as she was for her smooth and feline film-noirish looks. A trailblazer in terms of her status as a no-nonsense woman with effortless Hollywood style, she could wear a tailored dress suit or 1940s shoulder pads like no other.
Marilyn Monroe (1950s)
One of the most famous Hollywood style icons has to be Marilyn Monroe who started off her career as a model, although there are other equally successful career paths that have opened up to women who have also had some level of fame in front of the camera. This archetypal shot from the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch is probably how she’s best remembered.
Audrey Hepburn (1960s)
Hepburn’s take on Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s sealed her elfin-like looks in the minds of millions. Not many others could wear dark glasses and a wide-brimmed hat with quite the panache of this character.
Diane Keaton (1970s)
A much more recent image of actress Diane Keaton, but she’s still rocking a take on her 1977 persona as Annie Hall. This is a sartorial look that she’s made very much her own since her Woody Allen film days.
Kim Basinger (1980s)
Ah, how everyone loved the Basinger. She starred in a number of 80s and 90s big-selling films. Her long dresses were her stylish statement and epitomized something between glamour and old-fashioned down homeness.
A gone too soon music icon from RnB. Aaliyah may just be one of the originators of the ‘on fleek’ eyebrows and the tom-girl soul look that influenced the likes of Destiny’s Child before Beyoncé went off and did her own thing.
Iris Apfel (2000s)
Let’s hear it for the older woman. Iris Apfel has to be the fashion icon of icons. At five years shy of her 100th year, this straight-talking doyenne of interior and personal style makes a huge fashion statement just by being seen and heard whenever or wherever she’s seen in public.
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