Icon: A star responding to a troll. Symbol: Beyoncé’s breath. When Jennifer Lopez wore a Versace dress again, she was once again recognized as a style icon. It’s clear that the word “icon” itself is overused, overused, and disconnected from its original context, especially when it comes to fashion. If, like us, you could use some much-needed clarity on this precious distinction, keep reading as we explain the facts.
She won our hearts when she was a princess, and as a fashion icon, she still has an influence on our sense of style. Early in her royal career, the young princess was seen wearing the many frills and bows that were popular in the 1980s. Thank you, Gianni Versace, for setting the fashion standard by quickly abandoning overly sexy designs to suit traditional aristocratic attire.
The reason the multi-hyphenated singer, designer and mashup is a fashion icon is because she’s worked so hard to succeed in her various fields (sorry, been there). Rihanna’s fashion journey is one for the history books, from her baggy pants and crop top collections to her self-confident contemporary aesthetic.
Zendaya (24) is the youngest person on our list and shows that you don’t have to be old to be a fashion icon; You simply need to make bold fashion decisions. The young actor from Disney Studios initially adopted a mismatched look that included multi-colored layers and sneakers. But everything changed when a stylist named Lou Roach entered the picture. The young actress shed her traditional “girl next door” persona in favor of a more deliberate approach, wearing well-dressed details that give her the flexibility to chart her own fashion direction.
Cher’s presence lends credence to the notion that icons are not created. Rather, they are born. The singer’s sequined dress ushered in a new era for artists who defied social norms of what a woman should wear or do. The feathered hat and black jeweled headpiece she wore to the 1986 Oscars to win the Best Supporting Actress trophy caught everyone’s attention. The actress was given Bob McKin’s original costume to return to the Academy after her transfer.