8th March 2016 / Style / by Chia Sihan

8 Women Style Icons We Adore

This International Women’s Day (8 March 2016), we pay tribute to the women that inspire and inform style sensibilities around the world, not to mention set off waves of #trending #initiatives before hash tags was even a thing.

#1 – Carolina Herrera

#insidetheatelier #fall2016 show two weeks and counting. #mondaymood calm w/ a crisp white shirt.

A photo posted by Carolina Herrera (@houseofherrera) on

The art of pairing a crisp white shirt with a ballgown skirt takes a regal presence to own the look, and no one does it quite as well as Ms Herrera. Most notably known for her elegant yet always evolving aesthetic, her greatest strength is an unyielding work ethic married with a crystal clear vision of the brand stands for. In an interview with WWD magazine earlier this year, she stated “I don’t change the style of the company every six months,” Herrera says. “I think it’s the saddest thing when you see a fashion company that has been around for years and they try to be very young and change and do things they never did [before], trying to attract younger people.”

#2 – Audrey Hepburn   



Audrey on the streets of New York,1990 || I love New York City, it’s such a beautiful city and if you’ve ever been there you would know what I mean. I live in New York, but not in the city although I wish I did. Also, any photo requests? Any types of pictures you’d like to see more of? A photo posted by Audrey Hepburn (@audrey.hepburn) on

Hailing from Brussels, the multi-award winning actress and humanitarian would have celebrated her 87th birthday this coming May 4th. A little known fact apart from her famed fashion credentials as Givenchy’s eternal muse and relief work for UNICEF: she had an ex in common with sultry siren Marilyn Monroe – President John F. Kennedy, whom she dated when he was an unmarried senator.

#3 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

With a new movie Jackie starring Natalie Portman coming out soon, the style chameleon’s charm is far from being history, as with the eight other actresses who have portrayed her life on the silver screen in this article by Vogue. Well-loved for her effortless sartorial savvy (namely her pillbox hats, oversized sunglasses and bright-coloured shifts) her resilience is nothing short of remarkable. In the aftermath of her husband’s horrifying assassination while reportedly battling post-traumatic stress disorder, she needed to immediately commission the author of the first of the assassination books to avoid unauthorized works from taking over the public.

#4 – Nancy Reagan

“Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House. She was right, of course. But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice. Our former First Lady redefined the role in her time here. Later, in her long goodbye with President Reagan, she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer’s, and took on a new role, as advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives. We offer our sincere condolences to their children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren. And we remain grateful for Nancy Reagan’s life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again.” —President Obama and First Lady @MichelleObama

A photo posted by The White House (@whitehouse) on

Far from taking a backseat to her high-profile husband, this American 1st Lady was a trailblazer for the feminist movement for sticking to her guns in making her choices. Amidst criticism for quitting her job after marrying to devote herself to being a wife and mother, she simply declared, “Feminism is the ability to choose what you want to do.” Apart from driving the successful Foster Grandparents program and an anti-drug campaign, she also worked with Ted Kennedy to promote the benefits of stem cell research after leaving the White House. In a Vogue US tribute by Hamish Bowles, she was lauded for her “generally flawless American high style”, often opting for clean, simple lines that accentuate her petite 5-foot-4 frame.

#5 – Christy Turlington Burns

Even before the erstwhile supermodel founded Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit organization advocating women’s health issues, Christy was a born traveller. Raised by a pilot Dad and stewardess Mum, her interest in maternal health issues following a near-fatal complication during childbirth brought her to far-flung locales such as Tanzania and El Savador, where she visited when she was six and a half months pregnant with her son Finn. In 2008 she returned to film No Woman, No Cry, a documentary about global maternal health challenges that set the foundation for her work at Every Mother Counts.

#6 – Coco Chanel

More than four decades since her passing, stylelites today are still counting on the French designer for fine feminine, easy fitting pieces that make a statement, such as the beaded dress that Hollywood young star Daisy Ridley wore to the recent Oscars.
Raised at an orphanage where she learned her sewing skills, we salute Mademoiselle Chanel for her clarity of vision to incorporate elements of menswear in her designs and choosing comfort over the popular yet restrictive fashion of her time – such as corsets. Her legacy translates to timeless wardrobe classics such as the little black dress, the suit, No. 5, and a generous dose of je ne sais quoi.

#7 – J.K. Rowling

While not a style star in the typical sense, we love the fact that she has lured generations of young minds away from technology with her gripping series of fantasy, friendship and loss in the world of Harry Potter and friends. With her latest Harry Potter-based book series ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ confirmed as one of the most anticipated fantasy film trilogy, Rowling’s Midas touch looks set to stay for at least a good number of years. The billionaire author still styles herself for red carpet events, and has professed her love for charm bracelets in an article for Harper’s Bazaar UK.

#8 – Elizabeth Taylor

The two-time Academy Award-winning actress may be equally known for her marriages as well as her Aids advocacy work with fundraising and activism, but the first thing that comes to mind usually is her luxurious sense of style. With her charisma and a knack for dresses into opulent looks, her love affair with high-octane jewellery was a lifelong one, yet she remained endearingly down-to-earth. In an interview with Kim Kardashian, she said, “I never planned to acquire a lot of jewels or a lot of husbands. I have been supremely lucky in my life in that I have known great love, and of course, I am the temporary custodian of some incredible and beautiful things.”

About the Writer

Chia Sihan

A story junkie by nature, this TFCS scribe thrives on uncovering the backstories of her interview subjects, whether they are heads of corporations or a working Mum caring for a child with a developmental disorder. She finds it a privilege to be privy to these personal experiences. Some of the publications she has written for include the Singapore Women’s Weekly, L’Officiel Singapore, and Harper’s Bazaar Junior. It is this genuine love for storytelling and collaboration that led her to kickstart her journey as a co-founder of The Fashion Collective Singapore. Now the chief storyteller at TFCS, she is particularly inspired by the personal journeys of TFCS Mentors, not to mention their dedication towards the refinement of their craft.

Head over to The Editor’s Journal to read articles contributed by Sihan.

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