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Remembering: The Fashion Icons We Lost In 2016

CNN records that through the year over a hundred notable people in music, acting, photography, fashion the arts, politics and public office died. Death may be an expectation for every one at one time or another but it’s still a tragedy to us all, especially when those people mean something to us.

While we would love to talk about them all, we remember especially those whose creativity was so appropriately expressed in their personal style and sense of fashion that they remain trendsetters. Not all of them were in the fashion industry as such, but their style made such an impact it could not be ignored by fashion:

  1. Prince Rogers Nelson (or the artist formally known as Prince) has to be first on our list. The music legend was so talented and his devotion to recording new music meant he wrote a new song every day, probably right up until his death. He could play at least 27 instruments. On his debut album, For You, released when he was 20, Prince is said to have played every single instrument: 27 in all!

This singer/songwriter/musician’s  androgynous look and mastery of the guitar drew comparisons to both Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix. He practically made this look so acceptable for both men and women! Prince set trends from his dotted shirts and suits, his purple suits, his ruffles- oh how he loved his ruffles and his flared bottom pants. He was never afraid to wear colors and of course bare his hairy torso! Let’s not forget the way he elevated his 5 feet with heels- He even made it stylish!

He died in his Minnesota home on April 27 at  the age of 57of an accidental overdose of opioid fentanyl.

2. David Bowie, husband of ex supermodel, Iman and pop music star, died January 10 after an 18 month battle with cancer. He was 69 years old. Bowie had this uncanny ability to reinvent himself over and over and for over 4 decades he did so!

From a mop-topped unknown named David Jones, to his space-alien alter ego “Ziggy Stardust,” to his dapper departure as the soul-influenced Thin White Duke, Bowie married music and fashion in a way few artists have been able to master.

He was theatrical, he was flamboyant, he was without parallel in his showmanship.

He was born David Jones, to a waitress and a nightclub owner in South London on January 8, 1947. Though he began his musical life with his birth name, riding the mod wave of the mid-1960s, he changed to “Bowie” to avoid confusion with Davy Jones, the lead singer of the Monkees, who was enjoying serious pop success at the time.
His reinvention of his style over decades made him a fashion genius. From his androgynous to his latex, he always had control over fashion, setting his own trends, and then changing it. who can forget his 70s  jumpsuits and onesies or his loud and expressive neckties?

3. Papa Wemba was one of Africa’s most flamboyant and popular musicians who died on April 23 after collapsing on stage at a concert in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He was 66 years old.

The African king of Rhumba Rock popularized the Sapeur fashion, an eccentric look with three-piece suits, shiny black leather shoes and flashy accessories.Papa Wemba said he was inspired by his parents, who took great pride in dressing up on Sundays in the ’60s, “always well-put-together, always looking very smart.”

In the era of Joseph Mobutu, however, Papa Wemba wanted to challenge the status quo, so he devised the acronym SAPE, roughly translated from the French for “the society of atmosphere-setters and elegant people.” He dressed his band, Viva La Musica, in the style, and fans across Africa soon followed suit.

4. Andre Courreges, A french fashion designer,  he was particularly known for his streamlined 1960s designs influenced by modernism and futurism, the ‘space age’,  exploiting modern technology and new fabrics that made such an impact in that era.

Courreges was one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century; in the mid-1960s he changed the way women dressed, inspiring women like Catherine Deneuve.

Courrèges’s “new look” swept the world in 1964 almost as dramatically as had that of Dior in 1947, but, unlike Dior, whose clothes evoked the opulence of a bygone age, Courrèges’s highly distinctive designs owed virtually nothing to tradition, instead they embraced the “Space Age”.

Often credited with inventing the miniskirt (although Mary Quant and John Bates have also been cited as its creator), Courrèges’s other innovations include the graphic A-line shift, the ribbed bodysuit, the short white go-go boot, the skinny-legged hip-hugger, and the trouser suit. He brought Modernism to clothing design and both fashionistas and women on the high street were dazzled by his futuristic vision. He was immediately touted as the designer for “tomorrow”.

Courrèges had broken the fashion plate. All his clothes were designed for the modern woman’s modern life. They were meant to allow complete ease of movement – to run, sit down, get in and out of cars with comfort.

Women’s Wear Daily called him the “Le Corbusier of Paris Couture” and his clothes were embraced by Lee Radziwill, Margaret Trudeau, the Baroness de Rothschild and Princess Ira von Fürstenberg.

Fit and athletic – in his youth he had been a keen rugby player, mountaineer and pelota enthusiast – he continued to be the epitome of stylish youthfulness, wearing his customary uniform of sugar-pink cord trousers, polo shirt, sweater and trainers well into old age.

He is survived by his wife and their daughter.

André Courrèges, born March 9 1923, died January 7 2016


Source: CNN.com. www.telegraph.co.uk