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Haute couturiers on the block

Every decade has its iconic couturiers. Umesh Jivnani on the world's emerging style makers.. sure to be tomorrow's legends.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2008 19:23 IST
Umesh Jivnani

Every decade has its iconic couturiers. The 1950s had Christian Dior, the '60s saw Pierre Cardin's futuristic vision, the '70s witnessed the Halston rage, the '80s made Calvin Klein a demi-god, Versace ruled through the '90s while Tom Ford got sexy back in the new millennium.

Here's taking a look at today's fashion makers:

Matthew Williamson for Pucci: After a degree in Fashion design and printed textiles, Williamson's first job was a freelance project with Marni. Then, he worked with British company Monsoon & Accessorise. In 1997, he formed his own company called the Matthew Williamson Company .

He won the Elle Designer of the Year Award in 2004 and the Moet & Chandon tribute a year later.

In 2005, he took over as creative director at Emilio Pucci, the luxury Italian fashion house owned by LVMH. The past few years have seen him lend his distinctive ethnic touch to the renowned Pucci prints.

Other collaborations include a limited edition bottle for Coca-Cola, an exclusive stationary range for Smythson, a capsule rug collection for The Rug Company and a range of wallpaper designs for Habitat's VIP range.

In 2005, he launched his first fragrance with great success which has been followed by four individual fragrances.

Proenza Schouler: Formed six years ago, by Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough who met while studying fashion at Parsons, this trendy brand name originates from the maiden names of their grandmoms.

Hernandez interned at Michael Kors and McCollough at Marc Jacobs. Proenza Schouler designs are typically sporty and youthful.Their designs won them the CFDA's Perry Ellis Award for new talent in 2003. Celebrity fans include Demi Moore, Chloë Sevigny, Julianne Moore, Kate Bosworth, Kirsten Dunst and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Stores that sell Proenza Schouler's include Barney's, New York, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman.

Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga: One of the world's oldest couture house, Balenciaga was a name to reckon with in the '50s and '60s under Cristobal Balenciaga.

After his death in '72, the glamour faded away until Nicolas Ghesquière was hired in '95 as creative director for the house's ready-to-wear and accessories collection.

In '01, Gucci Group, in partnership with Ghesquière acquired the House of Balenciaga and turned it around completely .

By '07, the company showed huge profits and became a celebrity favourite once again.

Recently, Nicole Kidman wed for the second time in a Balenciaga while Kylie Minogue, Jennifer Connelly and Anna Wintour swear by the chic label.

Giambattisa Valli: This Italian designer grew up in a conservative Vatican school but knew that he wanted to become a designer - he used to sketch copies of YSL fashion illustrations.

He got his first job in fashion with Cecilia Fanfani planning couture shows, after which he worked with Fendi and Krizia.

In '97, he was appointed art director of fashion with Emanuel Ungaro ready-to-wear. In '04, he started his own label in Paris, which was an instant hit with celebs like Victoria Beckham and Mischa Barton.

In '07, he even named a shoe he designed after Beckham, calling the six inch stiletto, The Victoria. Today, his label is much desired by Hollywood royalty and A-list socialites who like his bold, eye-catching designs.

(This is one of a four-part series)