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Last Updated on June 7, 2022
When I think of the best designer brands, dreamy outfits, and couture runways, some of the brands that instantly pop into my mind are Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Prada.
These are all similar brands that I love to window shop for, but which I might never actually splurge on because of how expensive they are. I can only imagine the despair if I was wearing a knit sweater from Gucci and my cat ruined it by pulling on its threads!
Despite no immediate shopping plans, I absolutely love perusing Gucci’s new collections. This Italian luxury brand is a great source of inspiration, particularly for its innovative combinations, and you can usually achieve similar looks with what you already have in your closet.
It’s also a great way to get the scoop about what trends will be picked up later by fast fashion moguls like H&M, Shein, and Zara.
Keeping that in mind I have put together a list of clothing brands that are absolute magic. They reign over the rest of the fashion world as early trend adopters and dictate what will come next in the world of clothing. Read on to find out which top stores like Gucci made the cut!
Main qualities of Gucci
- Rare elements of design
- Unique, quirky combinations
- Beautiful fabrics and accessories
- Desirable campaigns
- Italian debonair
Most iconic garments from Gucci
- The famous double G belt
#1. Louis Vuitton
Overview: Louis Vuitton is a French luxury fashion brand that produces luxury bags, ready-to-wear, accessories, and more.
Price Range: $$$$
Origin and Concept: It was founded in 1854, on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris, France. It originally sold flat-topped trunks with Trianon canvas that were airtight and very light. In 1893, Vuitton’s son took charge of the company after his father’s death and he started a campaign to transform the company into a worldwide corporation. He also launched the Monogram Canvas based on the Japanese Mon designs that were very popular during the late Victorian era.
By 1913, the brand had opened a store on the Champs-Elysees, New York, Bombay, Washington, London, and many more world capitals. Their monogrammed accessories are one of their most iconic fashion products, desired by all and instantly recognizable. Nowadays, Louis Vuitton is considered the world’s most valuable luxury brand. Among brand names like Gucci, Versace, and Prada, Louis Vuitton is undoubtedly the top designer clothing company.
Celebs who are fans: Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Deneuve, Lauren Bacall, Kim Kardashian West, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rihanna, the Beckhams, and the Hadids, among others
Ethical Practices: Despite the brand setting a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is no hard evidence that it is in fact on track to meet its target. There is also no evidence that it minimizes textile waste, it uses few eco-materials and hasn’t set a time-bound target to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its supply chain. Furthermore, its treatment of workers across the supply chain is not good enough.
#2. Paco Rabanne
Overview: Paco Rabanne is a French fashion house that specializes in radical and innovative designs.
Price Range: $$$$
Origin and Concept: Paco Rabanne was founded in 1966 by Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo, a Spanish fashion designer known as an enfant terrible of the 1960s French fashion scene. He used unconventional materials like metal, paper, and plastic to create outlandish and flamboyant designs.
The brand is known for its metal and sequins dresses and swimsuits that look like armor chainmail made of fish scales. Paco Rabanne is famous for being a tad eccentric, creating cutting-edge designer pieces, high-end contemporary clothing, and always being innovative in its materials and designs. The brand also features perfumes that are sold all over the world and are considerably cheaper than their clothing counterparts.
Celebs who are fans: Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Edward Lampley, Grace Ahn, Maya Zepinic, Kei Terada, Katerina Zolototrubova, Cécile Paravina, Emily Ratajkowski, Kaia Gerber, Kourtney Kardashian, Katy Perry, Anne-Marie, Olivia Culpo, Demi Lovato, Sophie Turner, and Gigi Hadid, among others.
Ethical Practices: There is no evidence that Paco Rabanne has set any environmentally positive goals or science-based targets for its greenhouse gas emissions, worker empowerment, labor regulations, or waste reduction. There is also no evidence that it ensures the welfare of its workers or the payment of a living wage in its supply chain.
Overview: Prada is an Italian luxury brand that specializes in handbags, shoes, ready-to-wear clothing, perfumes, and other accessories.
Price Range: $$$$
Origin and Concept: It was founded in 1913 by Mario Prada (together with his brother) as a leather goods shop in Milan, Italy. Luisa, Mario’s daughter, inherited the business and run it for many years before passing it along to her own daughter, Miuccia Prada, in 1970. Miuccia began making waterproof backpacks out of a nylon fabric named Pocono. Together with Patrizio Bertelli, an Italian that had his own leather business, they stopped importing English goods and focused on changing the existing luggage design.
By 1979, she released her first collection of backpacks made out of tough military spec black nylon. They became her first commercial hit. The next big release was a nylon tote bag and expansion across Europe and the United States. In 1987 Miuccia and Bertelli married, and Prada launched its ready-to-wear clothing collection in 1989.
The aesthetic that made the brand famous focused on a lack of prestigious appeal that amounted to inverse snobbery and a position of anti-status. Dropped waistlines, narrow belts, clean lines, opulent fabrics, and basic colors were its basic guidelines. Its originality, however, was its main calling card and what turned into a premium status symbol in the 1990s. Learn more about the history of Prada.
Celebs who are fans: Selena Gomez, Dakota Fanning, Marc Jacobs, Uma Thurman, Claire Danes, Lily Collins, Baz Luhrmann, Alexa Chung, Ava DuVernay, Katherine Langford, Sasha Lane, and Chloë Sevigny, among others.
Ethical Practices: Sadly, Prada still has a long way to go before we can consider it ethical or sustainable. Particularly because it doesn’t focus on using eco-friendly materials or reducing its use of hazardous chemicals or water. It does use some recycled materials, but there is no evidence that it reduces its textile waste either.
Overview: Versace is an Italian luxury fashion company that produces Italian-made ready-to-wear, accessories, and haute couture.
Price Range: $$$$
Origin and Concept: This expensive brand was founded in 1978 by Gianni Versace. In 1982, it expanded its operations into the accessories, home furniture, and jewelry industries.
In 1993, Donatella Versace created the Young Versace line. By 1994 the brand was quite popular with Gianni Versace counted among the top designers of the time, but it gained international coverage for the black dress that Elizabeth Hurley wore when she accompanied Hugh Grant to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral.
After Gianni’s murder in 1997, his sister took over the company as creative director and his other brother Santo became CEO. They took the company and nurtured it until it became the iconic top fashion brand that we know today. Versace’s logo es inspired by Medusa, the mythological creature. The brand is known for its innovative designs with flashy prints, bright colors, and amazingly distinctive style.
Celebs who are fans: Elton John, Lady Di, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, and Jennifer Lopez, among others.
Ethical Practices: Versace has recently banned the use of real fur in its collections, as well as kangaroo leather. Despite that, it still uses few eco-friendly materials and there is no evidence that it reduces its carbon footprint or its greenhouse gas emissions.
Overview: Balmain is a French luxury fashion house.
Price Range: $$$$
Origin and Concept: Balmain was founded in 1945 by Pierre Balmain. He released his first collection in October of that year, together with his first fragrance, Jolie Madame in 1949. After World War II, Balmain was the fashion brand to wear. He dressed Ava Gardner, Brigitte Bardot, Hope Portocarrero, Queen Sirikit of Thailand, and Marlene Dietrichch.
After his death, the brand continued to expand and grow. The brand became known as progressive and creative, with a glamorous aesthetic that epitomized European style while being modest and simple, without extremely ornamental or flashy decorations.
Celebs who are fans: Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Lindsey Wixson, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevigne, Shailene Woodley, Taylor Swift, Martha Hunt, and Joan Smalls, among others.
Ethical Practices: Balmain publishes relevant information about its environmental practices but not nearly enough. There is no evidence that it looks after its workforce, or that it ensures payment of a living wage in its supply chain. There is also no evidence that it minimizes the suffering of animals used in its production and it continues to use leather, down, exotic animal hair, and wool. It does not use angora or exotic animal skin, so that is definitely a start.