As a fashion historian who closely watches both the vintage markets and fashion exhibitions worldwide, I see that the majority of interest goes to the same small group of mainstream design houses. While I would never discount the importance of the likes of Christian Dior or Balenciaga—a total impossibility in light of their mastery of the fashion art form and their influence on contemporary and later designers—I often wonder why so much attention is focused on very few, with such a huge variety of designers forgotten by all but the experts. Over the last 150 years that high fashion has existed in approximately the same form (since Charles Frederick Worth founded his couture house in Paris in 1858), there has always existed a wide breadth of designers creating in a multitude of different styles and for diverse occasions. Narrowing the field of scholarship and vintage collecting unjustly supports an incorrect idea of the past—with fashion creation limited to a chosen few. Discussed below are three designers whom I believe deserve greater notoriety and whose clothes are still highly collectible and wearable today. In terms of style, they range from classic to avant-garde, yet all have a unique sensibility that transcends their time period.

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