February is an important month for fashion thanks to the biannual fashion weeks held around the world. Here are four of the industry’s biggest talents, all with February birthdays.
Anne Fogarty: 2 February 1919
Fashion wasn’t Anne Fogarty’s initial calling in life; acting was. After studying drama at the Carnegie Insitiute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Anne moved to New York and took on a modelling job while waiting for her big break.
When offered her first role, Anne intended to quit her modelling job, but was offered in-house training with the designers alongside her work as a model. Anne accepted the offer, and even took up night classes at a design school.
During the early 40s, Anne took up several different positions in the fashion industry in order to learn the trade and climb the ranks. In 1948, she was hired by Youth Guild, who specialised in dresses for teenagers. It was here that she designed what was to become her signature look: full-skirted dresses with petticoats beneath. It caught on, and grown women began to wear petticoats for the first time that era.
In 1957, she moved onto Saks Fifth Avenue, and five years later launched her own brand, Anne Fogarty, Inc. The label had several brands and ran until 1974, when Anne retired and closed the business. She did, however, continue with freelance design work right up until 1980, the year she passed away.
Mary Quant: 11 February 1934
In her early years, Mary Quant studied illustration at Goldsmiths College, before going on to receive a diploma in Art Education and take up an apprenticeship position as a couture milliner.
In 1955, Mary opened her own retail boutique, Bazaar, on London’s Kings Road. Only just out of her teens herself, Mary was adamant that quality fashion should be accessible to and affordable for the younger generation. Unhappy with the range of clothing she was able to offer in her store, Mary decided to start populating her rails with her own creations.
Skinny ribbed sweaters in stripe print and patent white, lace up boots soon became part of the classic ‘London look’ thanks to Mary. Her store – and products – became a great success, and in 1961 she opened a second Bazaar in Knightsbridge. By 1963, her designs were being mass produced and shipped to the United States.
The mid 60s brought the height of Mary’s career; it was then that she created the micro-mini, plastic raincoats and grey pinafore dresses that are now synonymous with 60s style. In 1996, she received an OBE at Buckingham Palace for her contribution to the fashion industry.
Hubert de Givenchy: 21 February 1927
Born in the French city of Beauvais, Hubert de Givenchy moved to Paris in 1944 at the age of 17, where he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. One year later, he became an apprentice for Jacques Fath and by 1952 had opened his own couture house, la Maison Givenchy and in 1954, Givenchy became the first couturier to present a luxury, ready-to-wear line.
Givenchy also met Audrey Hepburn in the 50s, going on to design many of her personal outfits, as well at the garments made famous by her roles in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Funny Face. Their friendship, which spanned four decades, has often been referred to as a ‘fashion romance’.
One of Givenchy’s most influential designs was the sack silhouette, which abandoned the waistline completely and introduced an air of mystery to the female form in 1957. Around the same time, he also became known for raising the daytime hemline.
Givenchy’s first perfume, L'interdit, was also launched in 1957. It was – unsurprisingly – promoted by Hepburn and was the first fragrance to have its campaign fronted by an actress. Givenchy enjoyed a successful career through to 1995, when he retired to his estate just outside of Paris.
Ozwald Boateng: 28 February 1967
Ozwald Boateng’s love of fashion sparked when he was young, and it was because of that love that he took a summer job sewing linings into suits when he was just 14. Before realising his desire to pursue a full-time career in the industry, Boateng studied computer science at Southgate College.
It wasn’t too long before Boateng decided to do what made him happiest, and ditched his computer science course for a fashion design qualification. His talent became known when he assisted a friend in creating clothes for a catwalk show. Not long after, they were available to buy from menswear store, Covent Garden.
Boateng opened a studio on Portobello Road back in 1994, followed by a boutique on Vigo Street in 1995 thanks to the success of his first catwalk presentation at Paris Fashion Week. 2002 was him move to Saville Row, where he was admired for his ability to appeal to the younger demographic.
His career has seen many other milestones, including being honoured by the V&A Museum in 2005 and opening a flagship store on Saville Row in 2008. He’s a dab hand at costume design too, having made outfits for Hannibal, The Matrix, Sex in the City, and more.