The industry of fashion and cosmetics amasses to a multi-billion-dollar business, and the biggest names behind this success are women. What better opportunity to spotlight this year’s most influential figures than on International Women’s Day. From razor-sharp business decisions to stratospheric creative talent, the following women are game-changers in a world which feeds off the partnership of imagination and shrewdness.
The first name on this list ended 2018 with the Oustanding Achievement award at the Fashion Awards. Miuccia Prada serves as co-chief executive officer and creative director of her family business Prada, which is estimated to be worth $12 billion, as well as its sister brand Miu Miu. Along with her husband, Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli, she additionally oversees the Fondazione Prada, an institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture based in Milan.
Throughout her 40-year career, Miuccia has shown over 100 runway collections. Her influence spans so far that she has the power to attract A-list people to walk for her; last year’s catwalks featured famous names such as Uma Thurman, Chloe Sevigny and Lindsey Wixson, who came out of retirement for the Italian brand. Last year, Prada introduced a diversity council to her business in order to provide her team with a multi-cultural education and perspective. The move comes at a time when the luxury consumer has sharply transformed from the Western buyer to a more global network.
Natalie Massenet, who founded Net-a-Porter in 2000 and sat on the British Fashion Council until 2017, is one of the leading business figures in fashion, especially when it came to its gradual partnership with the digital landscape. After leaving Net-a-Porter in 2015, she joined Farfetch as non-executive co-chairman.
In 2018, she founded a capital venture fund, Imaginary, alongside her husband Nick Brown. The project invests in early–stage opportunities at the intersection of retail and technology in Europe and the US. After raising £52 million for its first fund, their business has since invested in Glossier and Good American.
No other person on this list has impacted pop culture in the way Rihanna has. During her musical career, Rihanna initially dabbled in makeup brand collaborations, such as with MAC, and with fragrance launches. It wasn’t until her collaboration with Puma and the debut of Fenty Beauty that Rihanna truly became a powerful influence within fashion and beauty.
Rihanna first made headlines when it was announced that her brand Fenty Beauty would offer 50 shades of foundation to accommodate a diverse range of consumers. Within its first year, the business made a total of $568,295,00. Since its inception, her brand has rivalled Kylie Cosmetics – another pop culture titan – and has apparently come out on top. According to data, Slice Intelligence reported that Fenty Beauty fans spend an average of $471 (USD).
Last year, Rihanna turned her attention to lingerie. Her underwear collaboration with Savage aimed to be as inclusive as Fenty Beauty by offering a size range of 32A to 44DD.
The power of Rihanna does not seem to be waning. This year will see the launch of Project Loud France, the elusive collaboration between her and LVMH. Whilst details continue to pour in slowly, it is guaranteed that this new step in Rihanna’s career will get people talking.
Claire Waight Keller
One of the biggest headline-makers recently in fashion has been Claire Waight Keller, who replaced Riccardo Tisci as creative director of Givenchy. At the Fashion Awards, the Duchess of Sussex was present to hand Claire the British Designer of the Year Womenswear award, only a year after her appointment at the French house.
Her powerful impact at Givenchy was almost immediate – she most noticeably designed Meghan Markle’s wedding dress and has continued to helm the brand’s ready-to-wear, menswear and Haute Couture lines. Claire Waight Keller is one to watch in 2019.
The second beauty mogul on this list is a long-time industry powerhouse. Pat McGrath has been a staple in runway makeup artistry since the 1990s and has remained a designer favourite to this day. Her own makeup brand, Pat McGrath Labs, was launched in 2015 and began with limited edition collections. The brand’s total funding reached approximately $88 million in just a few years since the company’s inception. This report by Women’s Wear Daily means that this figure is 17 times the retail sales.
In 2018, multinational investment firm Eurazeo Brands bought a $60 million stake in the cosmetics brand, which subsequently raised its valuation upward of $1 billion. Alongside her success as a businessperson, Pat McGrath was recently picked by Edward Enninful to work as British Vogue’s beauty editor-at-large. These ventures are naturally balanced with over 30 runway show makeup designs per season – most recently seen in the acclaimed Valentino SS19 Haute Couture collection.