The Icons

Tales behind some of the most infamous pieces in the fashion industry.


Louboutin’s Cherry-Red Sole

In 1993, during the early years of Christian Louboutin’s business, he was designing a shoe inspired by Andy Warhol’s Flowers painting. The prototype pink heel with a “cartoonish cloth blossom” arrived, but something about it was missing, according to a New Yorker profile on the iconic designer. He eyed his assistant, painting her nails with red polish, and decided to brush the paint onto the sole of the prototype. Thus, the red sole was born.

wrap dress

DVF’s Wrap Dress

Diane von Furstenberg launched the much-celebrated Jersey Cotton wrap dress in the mid-1970s, which was emblemized as part of the women’s liberation movement, symbolizing freedom. Von Furstenberg told the Los Angeles Times in 1976: “Clothes have to reflect women’s liberation. Women today want versatile, simple, classic, comfortable, slimming clothes. This is the story of my success.”

burberry trench coat

Burberry’s Trench Coat

The famous coat originally was designed by Thomas Burberry in 1912 for World War I military personnel, who needed protection against the elements. Burberry invented the gabardine fabric, which is a tightly weaved, tough material that is water-repellent but breathable. In the 1920s, the “Burberry check” of camel, black, red, and white was trademarked as the lining of the rainwear and the coat became a public sensation. 


The Chanel Flap Bag

Strapless clutches were the style of women’s handbags for decades, and Chanel’s quilted purse was no exception. However, in February 1955, Coco Chanel’s 2.55 handbag was born, featuring a modern chain strap. “I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them, so I added a strap and carried them over my shoulder,” Chanel reported saying in Coco Chanel by Justine Picardie.

is an assistant editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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