Cushnie Et Ochs and Erin Wasson X RVCA

Cushnie Et Ochs and Erin Wasson for RVCA

Cushnie Et Ochs Dress, left, modeled by athlete Laurel Wassner

In the beginning: Designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs graduated from Parsons at the top of their class. Known for: Body-hugging dresses in black, white, and nude, with sexy slashes, cutouts, and sheer inserts. The next... Herve Leger. Famous fans: Eva Mendes, Leighton Meester.

Erin Wasson for RVCA Tank dress, right, modeled by athlete Rebeccah Wassner

In the beginning: Texas-born Wasson has walked the runway for the likes of Armani and Gucci and been on the covers of Esquire and Allure. Known for: A model-off-duty's low-key, vintage aesthetic. The next... Diesel. Famous fans: Nicole Richie, Michelle Williams, Rihanna, Katy Perry.

Cushnie et Ochs dress, left, $575; Erin Wasson for RVCA tank dress, right, $335.

Read our interview with Laurel and Rebeccah Wassner
jason wu dress

Jason Wu

Modeled by actress Anna Kendrick

In the beginning: Once an intern at Narciso Rodriguez, 27-year-old Wu shot to stardom after making Michelle Obama's one-shouldered white gown for the inaugural balls. Known for: Frothy but unfussy evening wear, dresses, and suits. Tidbit: He also designs incredible doll clothes for Madame Alexander. The next... Oscar de la Renta. Famous fans: Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Natalie Portman.

Dress, $3,910.

Read our interview with Up in the Air's Anna Kendrick
Apiece Apart

Apiece Apart

Modeled by jeweler Monique Péan

In the beginning: On a 2008 road trip through Texas, friends Starr Hout (a stylist) and Laura Cramer (an art director) dreamed up the "modular uniform": a streamlined wardrobe of beautiful essentials that could be mixed, matched, and layered. Known for: Better basics—simple shapes and good fabrics at below-designer prices. Tidbit: Hout and Cramer were born a day apart in 1978. The next... Halston. Famous fans: Rachel Weisz, Victoria Beckham, Annette Bening.

Silk shell, $216; skirt, $373.

Read our interview with jeweler Monique Péan
L'Wren Scott

L'Wren Scott

Modeled by social psychologist Jennifer Richeson, PhD

In the beginning: Scott was discovered by photographer Bruce Weber, who suggested she go to Paris to model. She later became a stylist and costume designer. Known for: Fastidiously constructed, supersleek dresses and separates tailored to make all women look like bombshells. Tidbit: Scott is 6'3". The next... Coco Chanel. Famous fans: Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, Christina Hendricks.

Dress, $2,598.

Read our interview with MacArthur Genius Grant winner Jennifer Richeson, PhD
Zero + Maria Cornejo

Zero + Maria Cornejo

Modeled by art director Shamim Momin

In the beginning: Chilean-born Cornejo was half of the edgy '80s design team Richmond Cornejo. She opened her first Zero boutique in New York in 1998. Known for: Architectural, minimalist clothes that flatter all body types. Tidbit: Cornejo named the company Zero because it "represents a point of departure.... A woman shouldn't be a sandwich board for the designer." The next... Yohji Yamamoto. Famous fans: Michelle Obama, Cameron Diaz, Sofia Coppola.

Dress, $710.

Read our interview with art director Shamim Momim
Susan Woo

Susan Woo

Modeled by musician Esperanza Spalding

In the beginning: Woo studied fashion design and business at Cornell before working at Louis Vuitton, Derek Lam, and Chanel. Known for: Combining eco-friendly fabrics and practices with high fashion. The next... Stella McCartney. Famous fans: Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis.

Top, $295; skirt, $335.

Read our interview with musician Esperanza Spalding
Ports 1961 By Tia Cibani

Ports 1961 By Tia Cibani

Modeled by the president of Girard College, Autumn Adkins

In the beginning: Cibani, born in Libya and raised in Canada, lived for years in China, where she both designed and manufactured clothes. Known for: Using rich, tactile fabrics (burlap, suede, wool) finished with earthy touches (nature-inspired prints, wood accessories) sourced from around the world. The next... Marni. Famous fans: Paula Patton, Sienna Miller, Debra Messing.

Jacket, $495; shift dress, $550.

Read our interview with Autumn Adkins, the first female president of Girard College


Modeled by novelist Hannah Tinti

In the beginning: Gaby Basora spent ten years as a stylist, including on tour with singer Lauryn Hill. Known for: Silk tops in cheerful prints and easy, flattering cuts. The next... Diane von Furstenberg. Famous fans: Brooke Shields, Drew Barrymore.

Blouse, $265; skirt, $255.

Read our interview with novelist Hannah Tinti


Modeled by chef Naomi Pomeroy

In the beginning: South African designer John Murrough learned his way around luxurious leathers at Manolo Blahnik in London before relocating to the United States in the 1980s. Known for: Soft, slim-fitting leather jackets. Tidbit: Murrough takes inspiration from Venice Beach, California, where he lives. The next... Rick Owens. Famous fans: Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Anjelica Huston.

Leather jacket, $655; washed satin dress, $218.

Read our interview with chef Naomi Pomeroy