British fashion: Favourite fashion trends inspired by top British icons

Our top five styles inspired by British fashion and music legends.

Jul 25, 2012
Ava Baccari
British fashion: Favourite fashion trends inspired by top British icons

From the Gallagher brothers to high tea and Topshop, it’s clear that the Brits have enriched our lives in every imaginable way—and the current absence of Downton Abbey only makes our hearts grow fonder. So as the world turns its attention to London this month for the 2012 Olympics games, we’re shining a spotlight on why their distinct taste—British fashion trends and the musical icons who popularized them—continues to influence culture here across the pond. Here are our top five picks for all-time British fashion icons and their avant-garde styles we still love and wear today.

Fashion trend #1: Punk chic

The inspired:
Vivienne Westwood

The inspiration:
Childhood friends Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious of The Sex Pistols.

The look:
S&M-inspired getup: underwear as outerwear, the revival of the corset, and Westwood’s own creation, the mini-crini skirt.

Why you wear it:
The de facto leader of the punk subculture that emerged from economic instability in 1970s England, Westwood rallied (and dressed) disenfranchised youth with the opening of


A runway look from Vivienne Westwood's Spring/Summer 2012 show.

her SEX clothing shop along with her partner, Malcolm McClaren, who managed The Sex Pistols.

Stylish take:
“Fashion is about eventually becoming naked,” Vivienne Westwood.

Fashion trend #2: Glam rock

The inspired:
Jonathan Saunders, Daphne Guinness, Kate Moss

The inspiration:
David Bowie

The look:
The clean silhouettes and bold prints from his late-seventies Thin White Duke phase were most recently channeled in in Jonathan Saunders’s Men’s RTW Spring 2013 runway show. Bowie’s bejeweled satin jumpsuits, pointy-shouldered jackets, and whimsical hats have influenced men’s and women’s fashion trends and been continuously refashioned in collections by everyone from Prada and Givenchy to Dries Van Noten over the years.

Why you wear it:
Bowie’s Thin White Duke persona was one of many for the iconic fashion chameleon – including his glam rock Ziggy Stardust look of orange hair and women's clothing— that coincided with the release of his Young Americans album in 1975.

Stylish take: “I've always felt bemused at being called the chameleon of rock. Doesn't a chameleon exert tremendous energy to become indistinguishable from its environment?,” David Bowie.

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For more of top British fashion icons and trends they inspired, read on to the next page...


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