For an industry that mostly focuses on women's clothes, fashion has a lot of men in high positions of power. The third richest man in the world, Amancio Ortega, holds about 60% of Inditex, the company that owns Zara. Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH, is also on Forbes' list of billionaires. Karl Lagerfeld, who's been working in the fashion industry for longer than most of us have been alive, has his hand dipped in nearly everything.
But forget the fellas — women in fashion are making moves, too, and a few of them happen to be some of the most valuable people in the industry at large. Whether they're magazine editors, designers or celebrity stylists, these women have proven just how important they are to the world of fashion.
You can't talk about the most valuable women in fashion without mentioning Anna, who is definitively the most powerful person in the industry. The Vogue editrix, also the artistic director of Condé Nast, has shaped the industry in a profound way since taking her post at Vogue in the late 80s. She's had her hand in countless fashion initiatives from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to Fashion's Night Out. She's raised $125 million for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute (which is why the wing currently bears her name) and has even been known to be a direct influence on several designers' collections. Anna pretty much controls the world of fashion and continues to make boss moves each and every day.
Annie's aesthetic has made such an impact on fashion photography that Kanye West spent four days editing one of his wedding photos to get the hues of her trademark filter just right. She took that iconic photo of John Lennon curled up on Yoko Ono and has photographed every important cultural, political or societal figure in recent memory. Remember Demi Moore's iconic pregnant Vanity Fair cover or one of the Obama family portraits? All her doing. She's Vogue's go-to for cover shoots and her illustrious career has made her one of the most important fashion photographers in the game.
Diane von Furstenberg
Her iconic wrap dress that redefined the wardrobe of the working woman back in the 70s turned 40 this year, and Diane remains an enormous influence on the fashion industry. She is the president of U.S. fashion's governing body, the CFDA, and is partially responsible for the industry's current obsession with making Google Glass happen. DVF helps identify and decide what's trending in fashion today and who we'll be wearing next.
Gisele remains the top-earning fashion model in the world, according to Forbes. She's pretty much everywhere. With high fashion and commercial crossover charm, she's racked up campaigns posing for just about everyone: Versace, Balenciaga, H&M, Victoria's Secret, Chanel, David Yurman, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy...are you out of breath yet? She's built herself into a bonafide celebrity and though she contests the $45 million dollars Forbes reported she earned, she's still easily the most well-paid model in the industry.
Pat is the genius behind countless runway and editorial beauty looks. She's the top choice for houses like Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. She also sits as the global creative director for Procter & Gamble. Her work has sparked pretty much every makeup trend you remember — like rhinestones on the face in the aughts — and her position at P&G pretty much allows her to seamlessly inject high fashion beauty into the mainstream.
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Stylist, journalist and editor-in-chief of Love magazine, Katie Grand has done it all in this industry. In 1991 she founded Dazed and Confused magazine where she served as fashion editor. Following that, she launched AnOther magazine and Pop. She's proven to be a true creative force in the industry, consulting with many of the most prominent brands out there: Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and more. She continues to lend her styling talents to several fashion houses and publications: Marc Jacobs, GQ, Miu Miu, Loewe, Giorgio Armani and several others. There are few who have been untouched by Katie's superb talent and keen eye.
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Jessica's apparel and accessories brand reportedly made almost $1 billion in sales in 2010 ($750 million), and though she might only be worth a fraction of that, her label remains one of the most successful celebrity brands out there, selling maternity, childrens and womenswear, handbags, swimwear, eyewear and home accessories. The former songstress (who ain't a bad singer, either) is clearly crushing it in the apparel game. And you know what? Jessica's shoes are actually kind of cute, too.
Gisele might be the money girl, but Kate has proven longevity. Since she splashed on the scene in the early 90s as the face of heroin chic in Calvin Klein's racy campaigns, Kate has managed to maintain her supremacy and relevance for over 20 years. Through her career, she's landed countless covers and campaigns, lucrative brand sponsorship contracts and even a long-term partnership with Topshop that is back in stores after a few years off the shelves. She's one of the most recognized faces in the world and her personal style and bad-girl attitude have turned her into an icon. Now just reaching her 40s, Kate's stronger than ever.
If you're a high fashion brand, this is one of the people you want to impress. As the senior vice president of fashion for Bergdorf Goodman, Linda spots all the trends and decides which labels will have the honor of gracing the luxury mecca's shelves. Anything sold in the store gets her approval and she is one of the most important arbiters of taste in the luxury retail market. From discovering new talent to choosing the best pieces from established designers, Linda's stamp of approval is one of the most coveted in the fashion industry.
At the helm of the lucrative Prada label, Miuccia has built a fortune making her worth $9.9 billion dollars. She is co-CEO of the brand, working alongside her husband, Patrizio Bertelli. But it's clearly not just that fortune that makes her a fashion industry MVP. In 2012, her designs were one-half of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institue's Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibit.
Rachel is arguably the most well-known celebrity stylist in the fashion industry. She's dressed a bulk of the most famous faces in Hollywood: Anne Hathaway, Miley Cyrus, Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Nicole Richie, Jennifer Lawrence and more. She added "reality star" to her list of titles in 2008 with Bravo's The Rachel Zoe Project. She's also got a pretty successful namesake apparel and accessories line, which has been worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Karolina Kurkova, Coco Rocha, Kate Bosworth and others.
Sara is another one of the fashion industry's top earners. But that shouldn't be a surprise considering her pieces are worn by so many women across America. Spanx, the shapewear that has completely revolutionized the way modern women dress, is her brainchild, which has built her a $1 billion fortune.
With her Tory Burch and C. Wonder brands, the designer has amassed a billion dollar wealth. Forbes estimates her net worth to be about that much, which makes her one of the richest people in the fashion industry. She snagged the CFDA award in 2008 for Accessories Designer of the Year and paves the way for other female entrepreneurs with Elizabeth Street Capital, a collaboration with Bank of America that helps new businesses owned by women.