The ‘It’ Girl title has been around in fashion for decades, defining a person who exudes a sense of individuality, star quality and a unique sense of style. ‘It Girls’ were often put on the map by decade-defining fashion designers and artists, as well as their own successes within their careers. With the help of social media, the access that we have to archival fashion images and documents allow us to adopt elements of past style icons into trends today, making these stars one of the biggest influences in modern fashion. Today we take a look into our favourite ‘It’ Girl moments of the decades, and see how their impact on the movements of fashion throughout the years have inspired us to enhance our inner It Girl.
In the 1970s the concept of “the muse” was rocketed more than ever with fashion designers like Halston and artists such as Warhol bringing the concept to both runways and socialite nightlife. Bianca Jagger’s fame arose after entering the notorious relationship with rock n roll artist Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones. She quickly became a trendy fashion icon of the 70s, capturing the essence of both rock and glam. Alongside her high profile marriage, Bianca’s It Girl status was also defined by her friendship with fashion designer Roy Halston as one of her top associates.
In the 70s Bianca Jagger became synonymous with Halston’s brand. Her halter neck, flowy dresses and minimalist style grasped the attention of many, especially within the disco and club scene, and these choices defined an era of fashion known for its functionality. These styles allowed for freedom in movement as well as sleekness in form, a perfect recipe for night full of dance, making it one of the most identifying styles of the decade. Bianca’s influence can be seen in pop culture today with artists such as Beyoncé referencing her iconic Studio 54 birthday in her album cover. The 70s disco inspired album Renaissance makes a nod to Bianca’s 1977 bash in which she arrived on a horse dressed in a red Halston dress. We see Beyoncé capturing the brilliant hedonism of this era posed in a similar stance for the artwork for Renaissance.
Bond girl and ‘It’ Girl. The singer, actress, model and more, Grace Jones, was the true fashion face of the 1980s. Making her mark earlier in the 1970s, Grace Jones swiftly became a vision of her era being one of the most iconographic images of the time. Her androgynous, bold looks were the source of inspiration for many designers and artists of the decade. One designer in particular harnessed this image and created one of fashion’s most recognisable silhouettes of all time.
In 1985, Azzedine Alaïa designed Grace Jones’ costume as May Day for the James Bond film A View To Kill. These bold, hooded and elegant looks reinvented the concept of femininity and drew on the new ambiguous fashion of the 80s, also seen in artists such as Annie Lennox of Eurythmics. This Alaïa silhouette became a muse to designers over the course of history and was recently seen in the Saint Laurent SS23 show as an ode to Grace Jones’ impactful imagery.
The 90s would not have been what it was without the emergence of supermodel and superstar Naomi Campbell. Naomi quickly became popular in and amongst the fashion industry particularly because of her effortless runway strut and ability to make anything she wore come to life. Naomi was sought-after with the designers of the time, booking several major shows a day and walking for top runways across the four cities.
Her relationship with designer Gianni Versace was of the most notable and gave Naomi her ‘Versace Girl’ title, being one of the top muses of his reign. Naomi’s relationship with both Donatella Versace and Gianni was beyond business as they shared a personal connection that went on to last years and still remains. The glitzy, party girl aesthetic was paramount in the works of Versace with their remarkable mesh chainmail material being one of the most identifiable of the brand, and Naomi was no stranger to dazzle in these looks. Naomi famously shed a tear on the runway for the late Gianni in the 1997 tribute show symbolising the depth and familiarity the two stars shared with one another. Naomi’s relationship with the Versace brand holds longevity today with her powerful walk still being a highlight of a Versace show like in last year’s FW23 runway where she stood out poised in an embellished, halter dress.
Mcbling pioneer Kimora Lee Simmons debuted her noughties fashion label Baby Phat in 1999, sparking what became one of the most distinguishable styles of the 2000s. The fashion of the 00s was mainly inspired by what was seen in music videos rather than the runway, and Kimora’s impact on this was immense, with artists such as Lil Kim and Aaliyah rocking the brand. Baby Phat instantly became a trademark that would be seen on phones, bags and more, making it a symbol for the ‘cool kids’ and hip-hop princesses. Kimora’s status in the fashion industry remains an important one as she was one of the first black women to create a brand in her own name, to which she became a major success commercially and historically.
Motifs of rhinestone logos, pinks and fur were synonymous with Kimora and her style to which she reflected in the aesthetic profile of Baby Phat. In 2019, Kimora revived the brand just in time for the resurgence of the Y2K fashion trend with her two daughters Ming Lee Simmons and Aoki Lee Simmons going on to be the faces of the brand.
Effortless chic is 2010s It Girl, Zoë Kravitz. The 2010s held a multitude of fashion trends but with indie and rock being one of the leading music genres of the decade, the style inspirations of the era held great recognition to the musicians and actors associated with this genre. Kravitz being the daughter of the Rock, Soul musician Lenny Kravitz and actor Lisa Bonet was a guaranteed inheritance of style as the two were certainly fashion icons in their own right.
The actor’s role in the TV show the 2017 show Big Little Lies and High Fidelity, sparked her infamous ‘cool girl’ aesthetic, made up of a blend of casual and edgy looks that her character Robyn would wear. Zoë herself also had a similar streetwear style that captured this essence of laidback perfection. In 2017, Kravitz became affiliated with the Saint Laurent brand after being announced as a YSL Beauty ambassador. The brand further shaped Kravitz’s fashion identity, embracing her love of darker palettes and structured silhouettes. Her red carpet looks would make reference to Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent’s vision and would go on to further inspire the beauty campaigns for the brand. Zoë’s influence on fashion is still seen today with her famed boho braids being a popular styling reference and remains one of the top hairstyle trends of the decade so far.
Rising ‘It’ Girl Taylor Russell caught the attention of many after her critically acclaimed role in the 2022 film Bones and All, starring alongside It Boy co-star Timothée Chalamet. Russell’s contagious smile and her sophisticated sense of style elevated the star to become one of the biggest fashion icons over the recent year with brands such as Alexander McQueen and Loewe dressing her for press tours and red carpets.
In 2022 the Canadian actor became an official Global Brand Ambassador for Loewe, debuting this by opening for their SS23 show. Since then Taylor has starred in multiple campaigns for the brand including the SS23 precollection shot by photographer Juergen Teller and has made her mark as one of fashion’s main ones to watch. Taylor was spotted at this year’s SS24 Loewe show sitting with the likes of Anna Wintour who seemed both impressed and mesmerised by Taylors’ elegance. Russell was recently praised by critics and fans alike in her National Theatre performance in the play The Effect alongside actor Paapa Essiedu showcasing her diverse talent and post-show minimalist glam fashion moments that sparked attention all round.