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Iconic women of fashion



Photographs: Vanessa Petersen

Text: Vanessa Petersen


Firstly, I would like to preface this piece…by saying this list is not set in stone but rather a written snapshot of my fashion vision board. "When you hear the title fashion icon…who comes to mind?" The usual list includes Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana, Grace Jones, Cher, and Madonna (rightfully so).


However, I wanted to make some personal amendments to that lineup…to feature modern-day icons. So, in celebration of Women's History (and my birthday) during March… let's drop some fashion muses.


#1 The eclectic bohemian

Someone recently asked me, "what would you call your style?"... I instantly answered, "Eclectic Afro-Bohemian" So it's no surprise which genre of styling we are going to speak about first. Some early pioneers of bohemian fashion include Cher, Donna Summer, Stevie Nicks, and my personal copy & paste…Lisa Bonet. The names that come to mind when I think of present-day bohemian styling are Erykah Badu, Zoe Kravitz, Solange Knowles, and Tracee Ellis Ross. If you click on the text link, you already know why these dope celebrities are my inspiration in my everyday ensembles.



#2 Androgynous fashion

Having the characteristics of both feminine and male energies was an essence that Grace Jones capitalised on. Her chiselled bone structure, paired with her avant-garde attire…really left an impression on the fashion industry (even now). Present-day, non-binary, genderless fashion is still alive and slaying. Tailoring and baggy denim can be seen as popular street styles. So when I am recreating my best 'if I was a boy' look…Janelle Monet, Julia Fox, Emma Corrin, and Letitia Wright are a few sirens whose call I answer.



#3 Effortlessly classy

It takes a certain calibre of a woman to evoke a sense of class…with just the whisper of her name. Princess Diana, Diana Ross (maybe it's a Diana thing), and Jackie Kennedy are a few names that carry grace. The People's Princess's signature style can still be seen crossing the street in contemporary times. The group of women I fashionably look up to and aspire to manifest the same chic ambience is iconic. The People's First Lady, Michelle Obama, Zendaya, and Kelly Rowland (sorry to the beyhive) are some of the frontrunners of elegance.



#4 Trending

With the emergence of social media, we also see the gravity of the term 'influencer'. You had to truly be a household name to emit the same purchasing sway back in the day. Famous fashionistas such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Moss were on the walls of many budding future hashtags. Sometimes curiosity gets the best of me, and I want to take a peek into upcoming trends…there are a few 'trendy' women I type into my search bar. Despite the controversy, Kim Kardashian West is a go-to for designers to push out upcoming trends. Doja Cat and Cardi B are other target celebrities that fashion houses like to utilise.



#5 Street style goddesses

To avoid repeating my words, I'll just leave a little note here… "almost all the women mentioned in this article can hold it down in the streets' style category." I have to memorialise the previous trailblazers via text: Gwen Stafani, Aaliyah, and Madonna (no obvious explanation needed). Street Style is a genre that adheres to its own set of 'no rules' rules. Where the true fashion sense finally comes to the surface. I harbour several style woman crushes, but for time's sake…I will only name a few. Rihanna, Teyana Taylor, and Bella Hadid are at the top of my list. These women have seamlessly created looks and trends by simply running errands.



The shopping dream team

In an alternate universe…there may be a chance that crossing paths with some of these fashion icons could happen…right? Well, let's explore those daydreams... "Who would you want helping you scour the racks of clothes?" Just from a quick skim of all the women mentioned…my team is at least 10 people (sorry, not sorry).

Be that as it may, "Miss Erykah Badu…if you are reading this…it was always love at first sight."


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