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A Love Letter to New York: Some of the Most Pivotal Moments in American Fashion

As part of a four-part series, we pay homage to the fashion capitals London, Milan, New York, and Paris to celebrate their most pivotal moments in fashion to date.

Below, take a look at some of the most iconic American fashion moments.

Rihanna’s Met Gala dress 2015

Rihanna, met gala

Photo: Getty

The moment Rihanna strolled down the red carpet in her handmade mustard yellow gown will always be remembered. The Chinese couture dress was designed by Guo Pei and took two years to make, and instantly become a pop culture phenomenon.

Marc Jacobs’ grunge show for Perry Ellis

Marc Jacobs, Perry ellis

Photo: Condé Nast Archive

The iconic New York designer was fired from the Perry Ellis label after a revolutionary grunge collection for SS93. The flannels, plaid, and skull caps received much criticism but were later praised and helped launch Jacobs’ career.

The Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress

dvf, wrap dress, Diane von furstenberg

Photo: Instagram/@dvf

First created in 1972 as a wrap top and skirt, the wrap dress defined American fashion and is a bestseller for obvious reasons — it’s effortless, comfortable, and timeless.

Carrie Bradshaw’s tutu in Sex and the city

Carrie Bradshaw, sex and the city, Sarah Jessica Parker

Photo: Instagram

The show, Sex and the City, with Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte living the life of style in New York city sparked many people’s passion for fashion. While boasting many memorable looks, one of Carrie Bradshaw’s greatest style moments was the white tutu skirt, worn with a pink tank top in the heart of the city.

The opening scene in Breakfast at Tiffanys

Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy, breakfast at Tiffany's

Photo: Instagram

One of the most iconic moments in film is the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn, wears a sleek black dress designed by Hubert de Givenchy, adorned with pearls and a mini tiara eating a croissant in front of Tiffany’s store window, creating an utterly dreamy and perfect moment.

Beyonce’s Coachella performance in 2018

beyonce, Coachella

Photo: Getty


Regarded as one of the best festival performances by an American musician of all time, the headlining show at the Coachella festival was iconic not only in its music but also in its fashion. Beyoncé had many outfit changes, all designed by Balmain. Her costumes ranged from casual sportswear to dramatic robes and left the world mesmerized.

Polo Ralph Lauren

polo, Ralph Lauren

Photo: Instagram

Aiming to sell the American dream, Ralph Lauren created a brand that symbolized horses, fashion, and status. Started in 1968, the brand was revolutionary in what became everyday wear with sophistication, and one that every American aspired to.

Gossip Girl style 

gossip girl

Photo: Shutterstock

A cult favorite for its dramatic storyline, the portrayal of Manhattan’s elite, and teen romance, Gossip girl had many memorable fashion moments and is a show that shaped a generation. Wearing the latest pieces from the hottest designers, Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen brought uptown style to the halls of Constance Billard school and the streets of New York City.

Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Ball gown

Michelle Obama, Jason Wu, barack obama

Photo: Instagram

In 2009, Jason Wu designed Michelle Obama’s embroidered white silk chiffon one-shoulder Inaugural Ball gown. Choosing a designer lesser known at the time changed the landscape for First Lady fashion.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding

kim Kardashian west, Kanye West

Photo: Instagram

One of the biggest weddings of the decade was that of rapper/designer Kanye West and Kim Kardashian in 2014. The multi-day affair featured parties in Paris and Versaille, the bride wearing custom Givenchy.

Sandy’s transformation in Grease


Photo: Instagram

In the 1978 American musical film, the female lead Sandy, played by Olivia Newton-John, undergoes a momentous style transformation to impress a boy. Going from a preppy ‘good girl’ in light dresses to an edgy t-bird in leather, the surprising and controversial style upheaval remains iconic to this day.

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