PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2008, 12:00am

Vivienne Westwood (1941 - )

Dame Vivienne Westwood is an English fashion designer who first brought punk into mainstream fashion design. In 1971, Westwood and impresario Malcolm McLaren opened a shop on London's fashionable King's Road, selling punk clothing Westwood had designed and made.

The punk look was like nothing English fashion had seen before. Westwood used tartan fabric, plastic, safety pins, razor blades and chains in her clothes, and promoted outrageous makeup and outlandish hairstyles for both men and women.

The world began to take notice of Westwood's designs when the notorious pop band the Sex Pistols wore clothes from her shop on their tours.

With her clothing popular from New York to Tokyo, she soon had to expand her business to keep up with demand.

Westwood revolutionised fashion at the end of the 20th century and is still turning out challenging designs, capable of creating a stir.

Yohji Yamamoto (1943 - )

In a business where design is often complicated and has been created just to impress, highly-respected Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto's style is beautifully simple. Never obviously fashionable or trendy, Yamamoto's clothes appeal to people who want to wear clothes that ooze class and elegance.

Yamamoto began designing women's clothing in 1970 and presented his first collection in Tokyo seven years later. His uncomplicated designs soon won many fans.

Colour has always been an important factor in Yamamoto's designs. He prefers to use simple colours like black, navy blue, grey and white. He has never been interested in producing clothing that would quickly go out of style but instead has stuck with timeless designs.

Yamamoto may seem out of step with the entertaining collections seen on catwalks in Paris and Milan, but, as his Y-3 sportswear range shows, Yamamoto's classic designs are beyond fashion.

Jean-Paul Gaultier (1953 - )

Since Jean-Paul Gaultier arrived on the Paris fashion scene in 1981 with his first eccentric collection of clothes, French haute couture has never been the same.

Gaultier's cheeky attitude to fashion design is fun and totally lacking in rules. Many of his collections are based on urban street style, but he has also surprised fashion watchers with his classically designed formal collections. Gaultier is never afraid to shock, or to ignore accepted values. He has designed kilts and skirts for men, turned underwear into outerwear and presented clothing made from bread.

During the 1990s, Gaultier designed an unusual wardrobe for Madonna's Blond Ambition tour.

The singer's cone-shaped bra is still one of her most infamous outfits.

Gaultier's fashion style is often copied but never equalled.

Having also designed costumes for movies and presented TV shows, he is, like most of his clothes, a one-off.