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#BoF500 - The New Class: Designers

Top designers are the lifeblood of fashion, uniting creative vision with commercial savvy. Meet the 27 creative directors who are new to the #BoF500 this year.
Image: Paul Price for BoF
  • BoF Team

LONDON, United Kingdom —The global fashion business is animated by the ideas, emotions and actions of a core community of influential insiders. Since 2013, The Business of Fashion has been hand-curating a list of these select influencers, resulting in the annual BoF 500. Each year, we blend our own on-the-ground intelligence with hundreds of nominations from current and former BoF 500 members, unearthing interesting new names from across the world.

This year, the BoF 500 is more diverse than ever before, with 113 new members representing every exciting facet of this trillion-dollar industry. They join a host of established names, from designers, executives and retailers to media professionals, technology entrepreneurs, models and muses. Together, these are the people shaping the global fashion industry in 2016. Here are the 27 newly inducted designers.

Alessandro Dell'Acqua – Designer, No. 21, Rochas, Milan/Paris


Alessandro Dell'Acqua | Source: Courtesy


With his masculine-meets-feminine aesthetic, this designer is experiencing a resurgence after 20 years in the business.

Alessandro Sartori Artistic Director, Ermenegildo Zegna, Milan


Alessandro Sartori | Source: Courtesy

Having helped triple Berluti's revenues during his five-year tenure, the designer now oversees all brands and creative functions at the world's largest menswear brand.

Amaka Osakwe – Designer, Maki Oh, Lagos


Amaka Osakwe | Source: Courtesy

Since its launch in 2010, her ready-to-wear label has become one of Nigeria's biggest fashion success stories.

Anthony Vaccarello  Creative Director, Saint Laurent, Paris



Anthony Vaccarello | Source: Courtesy

With his eponymous label on hold, the designer is now tasked with continuing the commercial momentum of Kering's most profitable brand.

Arnaud Vaillant & Sébastien Meyer  Artistic Directors, Courrèges, Paris


Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant | Source: Ezra Petronio

The design duo behind Coperni Femme are breathing new creative life into the historic French brand Courrèges.

Bouchra Jarrar  Artistic Director, Lanvin, Paris

Bouchra Jarrar | Source: Courtesy Bouchra Jarrar | Source: Courtesy

Bouchra Jarrar | Source: Courtesy

The experienced couturier now sits at the creative helm of France's oldest fashion house.


Brandon Maxwell – Designer, New York


Brandon Maxwell | Source: Courtesy

The LVMH Prize finalist and CFDA Swarovski Award winner's gowns are a red carpet staple for clients including Karlie Kloss and Jennifer Lawrence.

Charles Jeffrey – Designer, Loverboy, London


Charles Jeffrey | Source: Courtesy

The self-proclaimed “club kid” is making waves with his heady and influential mix of youth culture, East London nightlife and fashion.

Gaia Repossi  Artistic Director, Repossi, Paris/New York


Gaia Repossi | Source: Courtesy

The Italian designer’s art-infused sculptural designs have brought modernity — and investment from LVMH — to the family business.

Gosha Rubchinskiy – Designer, Moscow


Gosha Rubchinskiy | Source: Courtesy

His gritty approach to fashion design has made him a poster child for post-Soviet youth culture.

Grace Wales Bonner – Designer, Wales Bonner, London


Grace Wales Bonner | Source: Adeline Mai

The LVMH Prize-winning menswear designer is tipped as one of the most promising newcomers in the world of fashion.

Guo Pei – Designer, Beijing


Guo Pei | Source: Courtesy

A guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la haute couture, the Chinese couturier gained worldwide fame after Rihanna wore a yellow gown of her design to the Met Ball.

Hiroki Nakamura – Designer, Visvim, Tokyo/Los Angeles


Hiroki Nakamura | Source: Courtesy

His vintage-inspired reiterations of American workwear have earned fans including Kanye West and Rihanna.

Kris Van Assche – Creative Director, Dior Homme, Paris


Kris Van Assche | Source: Courtesy

The designer’s integration of streetwear into the rigorous and established codes of Dior Homme have won over a new fan base for the brand.

Lu Yan – Designer, Comme Moi, Shanghai


Lu Yan | Source: Courtesy

The former model now helms her own womenswear brand, favoured by Chinese Vogue editor-in-chief Angelica Cheung and actresses Gong Li and Li Bingbing.

Marcelo Burlon – Designer, County of Milan, Milan


Marcelo Burlon | Source: Danielle Levitt

The creative mastermind behind the Milan-based fashion label also organises events for brands like Alexander McQueen, Gucci and Raf Simons.

Marco De Vincenzo – Designer, Milan


Marco De Vincenzo | Source: Courtesy

The designer juggles helming his own LVMH-backed label with his role designing accessories at Fendi.

Maria Grazia Chiuri – Artistic Director, Christian Dior, Paris


Maria Grazia Chiuri | Source: Courtesy

The first woman to be appointed to lead the ateliers and design teams of the famed house of Christian Dior has over 25 years experience in the industry, including a successful 8-year tenure as co-creative director of Valentino.

Maria Sole Checchi  Designer, Les Petits Joueurs, Milan


Maria Sole Checchi | Source: Courtesy

In two short years, her colourful handbag brand has racked up stockists in 145 countries and launched own-retail.

Paula Cademartori  Designer, Milan


Paula Cademartori | Source: Courtesy

Her colourful bags have become a street-style staple and the basis for a multi-million-dollar accessories brand.

Pierpaolo Piccioli  Creative Director, Valentino, Paris


Pierpaolo Picciolo | Source: Courtesy

After eight years sharing his role with Maria Grazia Chiuri, he took up the mantle as the Italian maison's sole creative director.

Pierre Hardy – Designer, London


Pierre Hardy | Source: Pierre Even

Over three decades, his work at Hermès, Balenciaga and his own label has solidified his status as one of fashion’s leading footwear designers.

Rosie Assoulin – Designer, New York 


Rosie Assoulin | Source: Courtesy

The New York designer’s voluminous eveningwear has been seen on stars including Rihanna and Beyoncé.

Shangguan Zhe – Designer, Sankuanz, Xiamen


Shangguan Zhe | Source: Courtesy

One of China’s rising design stars, known for his youth subculture-inspired collections and collaborations with brands like Vans and Casio.

Silvia Venturini Fendi – Creative Director Accessories & Menswear, Fendi, Milan


Silvia Venturini Fendi | Source: Courtesy

The third-generation member of the Italian fashion dynasty helms the brand's creative vision alongside Karl Lagerfeld.

Tamara Ralph & Michael Russo – Designers, Ralph & Russo, London


Tamara Ralph & Michael Russo | Source: Courtesy

Theirs is the first British couture label to join the prestigious Chambre Syndicale.

Virgil Abloh – Designer, Off-White, New York 

Virgil Abloh | Courtesy: Christian Anwander Virgil Abloh | Courtesy: Christian Anwander

Virgil Abloh | Courtesy: Christian Anwander

Kanye West's creative director has made his name as a streetwear leader, with his label Off-White and art-gallery-cum-menswear-boutique.


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