Fabulous Fifty: The fashion power list

As the eyes of the fashion world turn to London, Susannah Frankel, Susie Rushton and Cat Callender profile the designers, stylists, photographers, buyers, models and muses who'll be making the headlines and dictating the hemlines for the year ahead

Friday 09 February 2007 01:00

Alasdair McLellan

McLellan's menswear shoots have placed him at the forefront of a group of image-makers documenting the revival in men's fashion. His black-and-white photographs, distinctive for their pronounced shadow and erotic charge, have reached a wide audience, having been used in campaigns for high street giant Topman (since 2002). His editorial credits includei-D, Harper's Bazaar and L'Uomo Vogue.

Corinne Day

Part of a group of London photographers whose stark images changed the face of fashion photography in the 1990s, Day has been credited with creating the waif - her pictures launched the career of Kate Moss. Turning her back on fashion for 10 years, during which she snapped a warts'n'all photographic document of her life, the former model is back in a big way, shooting fragile, unstyled-looking pictures for Italian and British Vogues that continue to suggest new visions of beauty.

Alexander McQueen

Fashion's top agent provocateur proves you can ruffle establishment feathers and become an internationally recognised brand. The Gucci Group's acquisition of 51 per cent of his company in 2000 for a sum thought higher than $20m (£10.5m) was the biggest coup in a career spanning almost 15 years.

Erin O'Connor

Not just beautiful, but a campaigner, too - she's said that she wants to establish a models' union to improve their working conditions. O'Connor is one of Britain's best-known style faces and is an expert poser, able to make extreme, angular shapes with her slender 6ft 1in body. This native of Walsall is a favourite of many designers, including Jean Paul Gaultier and Valentino.

Alister Mackie

Mackie is creative consultant for Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Fendi and Lanvin menswear as well as being fashion director of Another Man and a long-time contributor to Dazed & Confused. Foremost among menswear stylists, he is known particularly for his "twisted youth" aesthetic. You have to hand it to Mackie for being able to make a man in a cutaway leotard look hot.

Alexandra Shulman

As editor of British Vogue since 1992, Shulman holds one of the most powerful positions in UK fashion. The daughter of the theatre critic Milton Shulman cut her teeth at Tatler, GQ and The Sunday Telegraph. Her Vogue, with its increasingly accessible tone, stands in contrast to its more esoteric sister publications in France and Italy.

Christopher Bailey

With Yorkshireman Bailey at its helm, Burberry is looking better than ever. Given his first big break by Tom Ford in 1996, Bailey led the Gucci studio for five years before being poached by Burberry in 2001 to revive its flagging image. With reduced emphasis on the famous check, Burberry, founded in 1856, has grown up: Bailey's feminine and inventive reworkings of house classics for his upmarket Burberry Prorsum label have been resounding successes.

Eugene Souleiman

This god of catwalk hairstyling has worked with luminaries such as Dolce & Gabbana, Yohji Yamamoto, Stella McCartney and Hussein Chalayan. Souleiman trained with Trevor Sorbie and was creative director of Vidal Sassoon in the 1980s, before branching out to create his own style - a sculptural treatment of hair that plays on jarring contrasts.

Christopher Kane

Born and raised in Scotland, Kane will be showing only his second collection as a fully-fledged designer at this year's London Fashion Week, but is among the event's hot tickets nonetheless. While still at Central Saint Martins, this bright young designer caught the attention of Donatella Versace, who offered him a full-time job. Kane refused and set up his own line instead. Naomi Campbell visited him at his Dalston studio recently.

Giles Deacon

Cumbrian-born Deacon is the current British Designer of the Year. As well as his own show being the high point of London Fashion Week, he's now womenswear designer for Daks (his first collection for the company will be shown in Milan this month) and he's recently come up with a more reasonably priced collection for New Look. Deacon worked as an illustrator and a designer at Bottega Veneta (among other things) before he started his signature line three years ago, wowing the fashion establishment with a debut collection modelled by Linda Evangelista, Nadja Auermann and Karen Elson.

Hilary Riva

Chief executive of the British Fashion Council, which organises London Fashion Week, it is Riva who is now at the sharp end of the skinny-models debate (she has resisted regulation so far). Her brief, when she took on the role in December 2005, was to completely review the event and produce a strategic three-year plan. Riva has 25 years of experience in high-street fashion retail behind her - and has amassed a reported £40m personal fortune along the way - but no doubt the next week will severely test her cool.

Hussein Chalayan

If mid-1990s British fashion conjures up images of vicious or tricksy tailoring and sexually charged power-dressing, Chalayan represents its more gentle, cerebral side. The Turkish-Cypriot-born designer's clothing is highly modern, delicately feminine and about as close to pure as it is possible for fashion to be. He has worked for TSE Cashmere in New York and for Asprey in London, and is now concentrating on his own label.

Jefferson Hack

Jefferson Hack co-launched Dazed & Confused with the photographer Rankin in 1991. His proudly individual vision stands out in a climate where play-safe tactics dominate. In 2001, he set up Another Magazine, a more structured and sophisticated fashion title, followed by its men's incarnation, Another Man, both equally impassioned in viewpoint.

Joan Burstein

As the proprietor of the landmark fashion boutique Browns since 1970, Burstein is a retailer with a proven eye for new talent. It was she who scooped up the student collections of John Galliano and Hussein Chalayan and displayed them in her shop windows, a fashion-godmother act that she has since reprised many times. Burstein is also credited with being the first to introduce labels such as Sonia Rykiel, Missoni, Jil Sander and Comme des Garçons to those who shop at her row of boutiques on London's South Molton Street.

Joe Casely-Hayford

Creative director of Savile Row stalwart Gieves and Hawkes since 2005, Casely-Hayford is at the forefront of a movement to bring traditional English tailoring into the 21st century. Trained on Savile Row and at Saint Martins, Casely-Hayford has been both a catwalk fixture at London Fashion Week (from 1991) and a costumer of music stars from Suede and Bobby Gillespie to U2 and, for a brief period in the early 1980s, The Clash. But it is as helmsman of Gieves & Hawkes that Casely-Hayford has made the greatest impact, winning acclaim from the press and Savile Row gents.

John Galliano

Eclecticism, the reinvention of bias-cut dresses, vintage references and hi-tech modern fabrics, the catwalk show as extravaganza... John Galliano's influence is immense. Since he exploded on to the scene in 1984, he has charmed even the most po-faced and reluctant fashion follower. In 1996 he was made creative director at Christian Dior and his aesthetic went global. He is now the creative brains behind everything at the house.

Katie Grand

Formerly of Dazed & Confused and The Face and creator of Pop magazine, Grand's shoots are recognisable for their archly glamorous outfits; her imagery is always slick and lends itself to brands such as Louis Vuitton, for whom she consults. On the catwalk, Grand has helped to mould the image of Luella, Bottega Veneta and Giles. Grand created her own opportunities; possessed of a knack for inventing trends, her services are at the top of many fashion houses' wish-lists.

Kate Moss

The so-called girl-next-door looks of this superstar model are the most influential of her generation, and any infamy has done little to detract from this. Since her discovery by Sarah Doukas of the Storm model agency at New York's JFK airport in 1988, Moss has been on the cover of every fashion glossy. Her seven-years as the face of Calvin Klein produced some of the most controversial images of the 1990s - most famously, shot naked by her then boyfriend, Mario Sorrenti, for Obsession. Moss has been the catwalk favourite of John Galliano, Gianni Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry. Following a break in 2002, and the birth of her daughter, Lila Grace (fathered by Jefferson Hack), she has staged the mother of all revivals, in campaigns for Rimmel, Chanel, Missoni, Burberry, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli... Over-exposed? Some say so, and a deal to design a collection for Topshop has done little to help. Still, for her style and preternaturally lovely looks, she will be remembered.

Guido Palau

Thank Guido for the natural look. Over a 15-year career, this London-based hairstylist has pioneered radically unstructured looks, as modelled by the likes of Kate Moss, photographed by David Sims and featured in countless glossies. For fashion shows, his range runs from slick styles for Calvin Klein to flights of fantasy for Alexander McQueen. In 2000, a coffee-table book dedicated to his work, Heads: Hair by Guido, was published.

Katy England

Anyone labouring under the delusion that styling is about tinkering with designer clothes would do well to take a look at the pioneering work of Katy England, long-time collaborator with Dazed & Confused and Another Magazine, and creative director at Alexander McQueen. For England, the emphasis is on the power and personality of the individual over and above anything so banal as a must-have handbag. Oh, and she's married to Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie.

Louise Wilson

As the director of the MA course in fashion at Central Saint Martins since 1992, Wilson is both devoted to her students and infamous for her harsh-but-fair methods of tutelage. Students happily suffer her criticism, for the MA that she leads is one of the most highly regarded fashion qualifications around. Wilson, who was design director at Donna Karan for five years, counts Sophia Kokosalaki, Emma Cook, Peter Jensen, Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane among her former students.

Lucinda Chambers

Fashion director of British Vogue, Chambers is one of the industry's most influential stylists with an unerring eye for curious but vibrant juxtapositions of colour and texture. Working regularly with Mario Testino and Nick Knight, her joyful, magpie layouts never just lift trends from the catwalk. She is also a creative consultant to Marni, the label designed by Consuelo Castiglioni.

Luella Bartley

A former Vogue journalist, Bartley's big idea was to make rebellious sixth-form schoolgirl style cool. And her own irreverent look - skinny denims, vintage top and scuffed heels - has become something of a ubiquitous fashion uniform. She is due to open her first London store some time soon.

Manolo Blahnik

The shoe world's superstar long before Sex and the City. Since the 1970s, Blahnik has dressed the feet of the beautiful people - Jerry, Bianca, Madonna, Kate et al. While the designer's barely there, strappy, stiletto-heeled sandals have become something of a trademark, it's his eye for colour and decoration that makes him unrivalled in his field. In America, where he is most famous, women throw themselves at him at trunk shows, so enamoured are they of both his footwear and his enduring matinée-idol good looks. His talon heels will be seen on Christopher Kane's catwalk next Tuesday evening.

Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott

Natural beauty and imperfection are anathema to this British fashion- photography duo, whose glamorous and digitally enhanced shoots appear in the magazines W and Pop. Mert & Marcus - as they're known - made their reputation by collaborating with queen-bee stylist Katie Grand. These days, the Turkish/Welsh-born team pull in the highest-profile ad campaigns including Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent.

Naomi Campbell

This tough cookie may have problems with anger management but she is among the most enduring faces in fashion nonetheless. When she first hit the catwalk in the early 1990s, she was known for her dazzling smile - now she's famous for her ill temper. For all the histrionics, she remains a black role-model in a world hardly famous for celebrating a broad cultural mix.

Natalie Massenet

Anyone ever in doubt as to the potential of an online luxury fashion outlet need only consider the founder of net-a-porter.com. Founded in 2000, this is the most successful site of its kind to date, known as much for its buying expertise as it is for its deluxe packaging. Massenet's recipe for success? "We sell the must-haves, not the misses."

Pat McGrath

So mighty is McGrath's presence in make-up that she is known for the creation of both the most maximal of looks - such as her extreme creations for John Galliano and Christian Dior - and for launching a range for Giorgio Armani, the king of minimalism. Past conceits have included feathered eyelashes and sequinned beauty-spots the size of gobstoppers, but don't let that put you off. Every time a woman reaches into her make-up bag, she's influenced in some way by McGrath's style.

Paul Smith

With 12 different collections to his name (including everything from jeans to rugs and fragrances to spectacles), more than 200 shops worldwide and a knighthood for his outstanding contribution to design, Sir Paul is undoubtedly the UK's most successful fashion designer. He will be showing his womenswear line at London Fashion Week this week, but his "classic with a twist" menswear, as worn by everyone from Tony Blair to Robbie Williams, is the thing he is most famous for.

Nick Knight

Nick Knight has been responsible for some of the most pioneering fashion photography of the past 25 years. Convinced that the best way to change the industry is to function as the enemy within, he has challenged our preconceptions of beauty, capturing the curves of larger-than-model-size Sara Morrison for British Vogue and shooting men and women in their seventies and eighties for a Levi's campaign. As well as contributing to style bibles including Dazed & Confused, i-D and Visionaire, he shoots Vogue covers and is responsible, along with John Galliano, for the global ad campaign for Christian Dior. Today, much of his creative energy is poured into showstudio.com, a website dedicated to fashion.

Philip Green

A self-made billionaire and the UK's second-largest clothes retailer, after M&S, Philip Green owns the lion's share of British high-street fashion. His portfolio includes Bhs and the Arcadia Group - which owns Topshop, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge - is not to be sniffed at. A notoriously "hands-on" businessman, Croydon-born Green (who likes to relax by holding toga parties, apparently) has signed up Croydon-born Kate Moss to design a collection for Topshop.

Philip Treacy

Treacy has been named British Accessory Designer of the Year five times, was the first milliner in 80 years to be invited to take part in the Paris haute-couture shows, and even had an entire exhibition dedicated to his work at London's Design Museum in 2002. These days his sculptural, surreal titfers are practically as famous as the stars who wear them - Missy Elliott, Madonna and Alicia Keys, among others.


The photographer Rankin set up Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack in 1991. Since then the pair have built a publishing empire, but Rankin is still at his most dynamic behind a camera. Dubbed "the new David Bailey", he has shot powerful portraits of Tony Blair and the Queen, as well as capturing the young and fashionable, and his work has appeared everywhere from Time Out to Vanity Fair. Rankin also has the uncanny ability to persuade models - male and female - to undress for him.

Ronnie Cooke Newhouse

Responsible for helping transform Topshop into the fashion mecca it is today, this London-based New Yorker is a creative director and behind-the-scenes mover and shaker who works on image and identity for the aforementioned, as well as Comme des Garçons. The fashion equivalent of royalty (her husband is Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International, publisher of Vogue), after founding the US men's magazine Details in the 1980s, she went on to become creative director of US department store Barneys in the early 1990s and worldwide creative director of Calvin Klein in 1997.

Russell Marsh

Marsh is the most influential casting director in the business. It's little wonder then that Miuccia Prada has been hiring him to find models for her catwalk shows and campaigns for the past 10 years. Marsh works with the world's most accomplished stylists and photographers, and is made all the more popular by the fact that should a bright, young designer take his fancy, he'll deliver the goods for them, too. He casts shows for Christopher Kane and Giles Deacon at London Fashion Week.

Sam Gainsbury and Anna Whiting

Sourcing car-spraying robots, tracking down rare beetles and purchasing a dead horse are all in a day's work for the production company Gainsbury & Whiting. They don't just orchestrate the nuts and bolts of a shoot, including catering and set-building, but also realise designers' wildest dreams. Having produced shows for McQueen, Chloé and Topshop, short films for McQueen, music videos for Björk, and editorial shoots for Another Magazine and French Vogue, they bridge the avant-garde-commercial divide.

Simon Foxton

Despite a low personal profile, super-stylist Foxton is one of fashion's foremost image-makers, and is often credited with sparking the return of a more formal elegance that now pervades many men's catwalks. His first shoot was for i-D magazine in 1984 and today he is the magazine's fashion director, but over his career has also contributed ground-breaking work to The Face, Arena Homme Plus, W and Details. He is particularly noted for his casting of black models in an industry not known for its broad-minded view of beauty.

Sophia Kokosalaki

Having dressed a cast of 6,000 for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics - including the diminutive Icelandic singer Björk, whose "ocean dress" was anything but - Kokosalaki now shows with the big guns in Paris. It was announced last autumn that as well as her own line, Kokosalaki will now be designing a collection for the French house of Vionnet. The designer's signature is to combine craft techniques with a modern or futuristic aesthetic.

Stella McCartney

"Let's hope she's as gifted as her father," snapped Karl Lagerfeld in 1997 when McCartney succeeded him at Chloé. Since 2001, she's had her own label, backed by Gucci, and her fortunes have been mixed. Low points for the Beatle's daughter were T-shirts with "Bristols" written across them, and early poor profits, but the designer has now found her feet, designing clothes that are famed for being simple, modern and female-friendly.

Stella Tennant

While she may be the epitome of the mid-1990s breed of aristo-model (her late grandfather was Duke of Devonshire), you've got to respect Tennant's uncompromising approach. The former face of Chanel refuses to smile and has made motherhood work for her, appearing in shoots while pregnant and also with her three children. Tennant appeared in a high-profile campaign for Christian Dior last year and is the face of Burberry.

Stuart Rose

As former chief executive of Arcadia Group and current chief at M&S, Rose may not have the sexiest job in the business. Still, it's partly down to him that Topshop is always right on the money. His speciality? Producing templates for chains of supply that allow buyers to spot fabulous garments on the catwalk and have versions of them in store straight away.

Val Garland

Fashion designers breathe a sigh of relief when make-up artist Val Garland and her 25-strong team of assistants arrive backstage before a catwalk show. Not that there's anything reassuring about the looks she creates: clown faces, fake tattoos and electric-blue eyebrows are just a few of her typically outlandish looks. Alexander McQueen and Paris houses such as Dior and Ungaro - not to mention snappers, including Mario Testino - are all fans of the West Country girl's talent for extreme beauty.

Zandra Rhodes

With her signature pink top-knot, rainbow-coloured wardrobe and Andrew Logan brooches the size of saucers, Zandra Rhodes, whose exotic prints on ruffled chiffon dresses ruled the 1970s, is a national institution. Rhodes dressed everyone who was anyone in that era, including Princess Margaret and Bianca Jagger. Although she has been among the most widely copied designers of her generation, she continues to struggle to make ends meet (this is a very British trait). She returned to the British catwalks at London Fashion Week last season, but is sadly missing from the official schedule this time round.

Terry Jones

"Controlled chaos" is how Jones, editor-in-chief and founder of pop-culture magazine i-D, described his art direction. The magazine, launched in 1980, has nurtured young talent. Joneswas art director at Vogue from 1972 to 1977.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood is among the most influential talents of our time. The world has this designer to thank, of course, for the wardrobe of punk and for a brilliantly subversive take on the British tailoring tradition among many, many other fashion moments. The grande dame of British fashion continues her reign, although sadly she's rather too big for London these days and shows in Paris with the fashion superpowers instead.

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