In conjunction with the Fairchild Media Group’s Women in Power: Female Forces virtual event, the inaugural WWD and FN 50 Most Powerful Women List celebrates the achievements of female leadership globally. From fashion to beauty to footwear, this alphabetical list encompasses those creating change at the highest level, while also addressing the numerous challenges facing all women in a post-pandemic world.
Executive Vice President, Louis Vuitton; Board Member and Executive Committee Member, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Power Move: The eldest child and only daughter of luxury titan Bernard Arnault, Delphine Arnault shares her father’s drive. She also has a distinct eye for creative talent, and has been instrumental in recruiting disruptive new designers to several of the firm’s powerhouse brands. With her passion for championing young designers, she is the brainchild behind the LVMH Prize, launched in 2014. Schooled at the EDHEC Business School in Lille, France, and the London School of Economics, Arnault began her career at management consultancy McKinsey & Co., joining the family business in 2000 as a development director at John Galliano. She moved to Dior in 2001, where she learned the ropes behind the scenes before rising to become deputy managing director. In 2013, she was named executive vice president at Louis Vuitton, her current role.
Leadership Advice: “I am very honored and humbled to be on this list alongside women who are real drivers and agents of change in our industry. Even if leadership is genderless, we all have a responsibility to inspire and empower future generations. At LVMH, we created several initiatives to support women in attaining high positions within the group. I am particularly proud of our performance at Louis Vuitton where women hold close to 50 percent of top leadership roles.”
Founder, Barrymore Brands
Power Move: Drew Barrymore is so adept at creating a true connection with anyone in her orbit, it’s easy to forget she’s a global superstar whose business interests span the worlds of Hollywood, home, fashion, beauty and, most recently, media — a hit TV show now in its second season and a magazine that launched last year. Her brand is called Flower and no wonder — Barrymore is in full blossom.
Leadership Advice: “If you care about the word power, you better be diligent and take the ego out of it because there’s no room for ego in business and working with other people. It’s alienating and unnecessary. Work from your heart, work from your gut — much better place.”
President and Chief Executive Officer, Yves Saint Laurent
Power Move: Francesca Bellettini began as an investment banker before moving to the Prada group in 1999. She joined the Business Planning and Development division and later became operations manager for Helmut Lang. Joining Kering in 2003 as strategic planning director and associate worldwide merchandising director of Gucci, she joined Bottega Veneta in 2008 and became worldwide merchandising and communications director in 2010. In 2013, she became president and chief executive officer of Yves Saint Laurent.
Leadership Advice: “Leadership is not a title. It does not appear in an organizational chart and cannot come without the respect of others and yourself. A leader must have the ability to decide and guide while avoiding paralyzing others due to the fear of the risks that any decision bears. A leader is aware of the risks but does not let them weaken if they are reasonable to take. And most importantly, the leader is the one who encourages people to work better by identifying and building on their strengths and keeping them moving in the right direction.”
Chief Executive Officer, Pomellato
Power Move: Sabina Belli joined Kering, which controls Pomellato, in April 2015 as general manager of the Italian jewelry brand and at the end of that year was promoted to chief executive officer. She leverages extensive experience in the luxury sector, built at L’Oréal Luxe and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, where her roles included international brand director for Christian Dior Parfums, international brand manager for Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and brand executive vice president of Bulgari. She joined Kering, which controls Pomellato, in April 2015 as general manager of the brand and at the end of that year was promoted to CEO. Belli has long been vocal about empowering women, launching for example the Pomellato For Women campaign in 2017, promoting female leadership. She was instrumental in founding the #PomellatoForWomen platform in 2017 with ambassadors including Jane Fonda and Cate Blanchett, promoting equality and inclusivity, and Belli spearheaded an awareness campaign and crowdfunding initiative to support women victims of domestic violence. The company has for more than a decade supported CADMI, an antiviolence center in Milan, and its parent network D.i.Re.
Leadership Advice: “As a CEO, female empowerment is a strong value for me. Gender or diversity should not be a problem at work and beyond. I encourage and strive to provide equality and equal career opportunities for my employees. As leaders we need to pursue a higher purpose, to create a common vision that moves people to achieve big dreams, to improve the world we live in. As leaders we have to foster hope.”
Founder and CEO, Style Capital
Power Move: Roberta Benaglia has built a solid reputation as a thoroughly prepared and fearless investor. In Milan, she founded Style Capital, the fund that acquired a 32 percent stake in MSGM in 2018, supporting the brand’s founder Massimo Giorgetti, forging distribution partnerships and building a global retail network. Last year, Style Capital became in investor in Australian brand Zimmermann, expanding the fund’s portfolio of investments in the fashion industry, which also includes Forte_Forte and Los Angeles-based company Re/Done. Benaglia is also associated with the success of Golden Goose. Style Capital, which at that time was named DGPA, acquired 38 percent of the luxury sneaker brand in March 2013 and sold it in 2015. During that time, under the lead of Style Capital, Golden Goose’s revenues increased from 21.4 million euros to 76 million euros. In 2015, Golden Goose passed under the control of Ergon Capital Partners III and in 2017 was acquired by Carlyle Europe Partners IV, which last February sold the brand to Permira for 1.2 billion euros.
Esi Eggleston Bracey
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Beauty and Personal Care, Unilever North America
Power Move: Over the course of her career, Esi Eggleston Bracey has prioritized purpose as much as profit — and with oversight of Unilever’s beauty and personal care businesses in North America, she’s got one of the largest platforms out there. Whether helping to pass antihair discrimination with The Crown Act or overseeing the creation of sustainable brands like Love Beauty and Planet, Bracey has driven impact across all areas of her business.
Leadership Advice: “Invest in yourself and your personal development. Understand how to bring your authentic self to help inspire, focus, and empower people to embrace your leadership mission.”
Power Move: Lifted by the running boom, Saucony is racking up product wins — and under Anne Cavassa’s leadership achieved an all-time revenue high in the second quarter.
Leadership Advice: “We have to be nimble and agile, but also very thoughtful and deliberate. What we’ve been doing is rallying around our brand purpose. As a leader, I think it’s been really important to me that my actions are in alignment with both our mission statement as well as my own core values.”
Creative Director and Global Brand Ambassador, Bad Habit
Power Move: YouTube sensation Emma Chamberlain has become a fashion-world favorite (and beauty, too.) Most recently, she made her debut at the Met Ball, dressed in custom Louis Vuitton, a brand she has worked with since 2019. She’s also found success with her Chamberlain Coffee, as well as Bad Habit skin care, for whom she serves as global ambassador and creative director. And with nearly 14 million Instagram followers and over 1 billion views on YouTube, her influence shows no signs of waning.
Leadership Advice: “Prioritize creativity and passion over everything. I constantly ask myself, am I creatively inspired? Why am I creating? Am I proud of what I am doing? If the answer is ever no to one of those questions, that means I am creating for the wrong reasons, or I have gotten too caught up in ‘grind culture.’ You must enjoy the process of creating in order to create things that will reach people’s hearts, while simultaneously enhancing your own life. Many people (myself included) forget that we decide how we want to live our lives every day, and if we want to shift things around and step outside of the box to keep ourselves creatively inspired, we can do that.”
Vice President of Fashion and Shopping Partnerships, Instagram
Power Move: Eva Chen spent seven years at Teen Vogue and earned her degree in journalism from Columbia University. In 2013, she became editor in chief of Lucky. She has also contributed to Vogue, Vogue China, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and has been a contributor to “Good Morning America” and a fashion correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight.” She sits on the board for Net-a-porter and is the author of New York Times bestseller “Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes.”
Venture Partner, Sequoia Capital China
Power Move: Vogue does not define Angelica Cheung. The former longtime editorial director of Vogue China who launched and spearheaded the fashion title’s Chinese edition for 16 years is now a venture partner at Sequoia Capital’s China branch, a strategic adviser for Ermenegildo Zegna to chief executive officer Gildo Zegna for the Asian region, and a board member of luxury e-retailer Ssense. Cheung is now utilizing her insight into the Chinese market to scout and support a new generation of Chinese innovation and international brands in the fashion, lifestyle and entertainment sectors to expand in the market.
Maria Grazia Chiuri
Creative Director, Dior
Power Move: Maria Grazia Chiuri has implemented messages of female empowerment into Christian Dior through romantic and artisanal craftsmanship. From the start, she emblazoned T-shirts and decorated runway show sets with powerful slogans to push the message, while upholding the brand’s ongoing popularity through the omnipresent Christian Dior handbags.
Leadership Advice: “It’s such an honor to have been included in this extraordinary group of women. I’m conscious of the responsibility it brings. I believe that, today more than ever, it is essential that women stop setting limits on their goals. We need to get over all our shyness and our fears. We need to get over our feeling of not being enough, which has held us back for years. The challenges we face today to achieve a future that is sustainable in all ways are numerous and critical. Women who were raised to be caretakers must understand that the time has arrived for us to be a united, active group, and we each need to welcome the honor of being a leader in our respective camps.”
Founder and CEO, Uoma Beauty; Founder, Pull Up for Change
Power Move: When Sharon Chuter launched her makeup brand, Uoma Beauty, in 2019, her goal was to create a truly inclusive line that transcended foundation shades. After the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Chuter not only doubled down on her original mission, she catalyzed the beauty industry with the creation of Pull Up for Change, challenging companies to share their stats on diversity, equity and inclusivity and set clear goals for change. Chuter may be relatively new to beauty, but her impact belies her years.
Leadership Advice: “Trust in yourself especially in your ‘femininity.’ Lead with tenacity but also lead with empathy if that’s who you are naturally. Don’t feel the need to do things the way men do it or have done it. This is the gift of diversity. There is no right or wrong way so do it your way. Also remember that it’s OK to make mistakes and when you do, don’t beat yourself up too much — women tend to expect perfection from ourselves and that holds us back. Perfection is not the goal — just try, just start. Fail fast and fail forward.”
Muge Erdirik Dogan
President, Amazon Fashion
Power Move: Having served as president of Amazon Fashion since February 2021, Muge Erdirik Dogan is responsible for developing and executing Amazon Fashion’s growth strategy, including enhancing the core flywheel, building technology to continuously invent on behalf of customers, developing new private brands and merchandising and marketing to their customers. Dogan has been with Amazon for 14 years leading category, technology and operations teams, joining in 2007 to build revenue management science models for their advertising business.
Leadership Advice: “We’re focused on creating the future of shopping by merging the worlds of fashion and technology, and I encourage working backward from the customer and inventing for their latent needs. I find the team’s full potential is reached when a culture of unconstrained, out-of-the-box ideation is fostered. I also encourage an environment where every team member feels empowered to present a new idea or a different way of remedying customer challenges. We all have seats at the table.”
Entrepreneur, Brand Ambassador, Influencer
Power Move: Chiara Ferragni has full control of TBS Crew Srl, the company that manages The Blonde Salad online magazine and activities. TBS Crew also operates as a talent agency and digital marketing consultant. Ferragni founded TBS Crew in 2009 and in 2017 the young digital entrepreneur took on the role of president and chief executive officer. She is also the CEO and creative director of Fenice, formerly called Serendipity, which manages her namesake line. She has been expanding her product offer, launching her first total look collection under her namesake brand for fall 2021, underwear and beachwear collections. Ferragni, who has two children, also launched a children’s line. Most recently, she inked an eyewear license collection with Safilo Group. The Chiara Ferragni brand was launched in 2013 as a footwear label, and gradually introduced T-shirts and sweatshirts, developing a network of stores in cities such as Milan; Paris; Cortina, Italy; Hong Kong; Shanghai and Hangzhou, China. She also has a collaboration with Lancôme. Counting 24.9 million followers, Ferragni also continues to have several advertising deals ranging from Pantene to Pomellato. In April, she joined the board of Tod’s. Ferragni has become so influential that when she joined the board of Tod’s, the group’s shares soared on the Italian stock exchange, as did Safilo’s.
Group Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Synergies, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Power Move: Chantal Gaemperle has held the top human resources role at LVMH since 2007, and is renowned for nurturing internal talent and employee engagement. She is one of only two women on LVMH’s executive committee, alongside Delphine Arnault. Part of her remit has been to improve gender diversity in leadership roles at the company — when she joined LVMH, women held only 23 percent of its leadership positions; that ratio stood at 42 percent last year. Through the EllesVMH network, set up in 2007, she has been instrumental in supporting women’s career development. This June, she helped implement a global employee support fund, driven by what she described as an era that calls for “soft-skills leadership.”
Leadership Advice: “As the saying goes: ‘Be yourself, everybody else is taken!’ Being authentic and staying true to your values is what allows you to fight for your convictions. It is an essential aspect of leadership, one that I deeply believe in and encourage everybody to apply.”
Chief Executive Officer, Kohl’s
Power Move: Michelle Gass has been a game-changer, recasting the merchandise mix at Kohl’s to concentrate on beauty, activewear, casual and outdoor apparel. Sephora launched on kohls.com in August, in about 200 brick-and-mortar doors this fall, and ultimately is expected to be inside 850 Kohl’s locations. Kohl’s active business has more than doubled in the last five years, and the goal is for the category to represent 30 percent of the retailer’s volume in the future by leaning heavily on Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and the FLX private brand for growth. In outdoor and casual apparel, the offering is focused on brands like Columbia, Lands’ End, and the private Sonoma brand.
Leadership Advice: “For me, leadership is having the courage to lead with empathy and vulnerability. People want to work for leaders they believe in and that they can relate to. Leadership is also about anticipating tomorrow. We are operating in the most dynamic time in retail which demands a completely new way of thinking, a new level of agility and an appetite for bold, disruptive innovation.”
Vice President of Industrial Design, Apple
Power Move: Evans Hankey is vice president of Industrial Design at Apple, leading the renowned team that designs Apple’s product lineup. Evans joined Apple 21 years ago and has played a critical role in bringing some of the world’s most beloved consumer products to life, including iPod, iPhone, iMac, MacBook, Apple Watch, and AirPods. With a deep understanding of processes and materials and a passion for collaboration across Apple, Evans supports and facilitates every stage of the design process working closely with the team of designers, engineers, prototypers, researchers, digital sculptors and model makers responsible for Apple’s iconic designs.
Leadership Advice: “Many of us at Apple have had the great fortune to learn from Jony Ive and Steve Jobs, two of the most visionary leaders of our time. Foundational lessons for me have been about focus and humility. If we can maintain a tenacious focus on the work, the principles that drive the work, and the people who come together to make it happen, the rest sorts itself out. Doing so creates a culture of curiosity, trust and care, where ambition is not about personal ego but rather a force that unites us to make the very best products possible.”
Founder, Gabriela Hearst; Creative Director, Chloé
Power Move: Gabriela Hearst’s brand of female-first polish and gaucho earthiness is leading the movement toward intelligent, sustainable luxury. Using deadstock fabric and recycled cashmeres, staging carbon neutral runway shows, and collaborating with indigenous artisans, she’s committed to making fashion eco-minded and purposeful. Hearst was named creative director of Chloé at the end of last year, and her first collections have received rave reviews. She dressed Gillian Anderson in the French brand for the 2021 Met Gala and the 2021 Emmy Awards, and has relaunched the Chloé Edith bag to much fanfare.
Leadership Advice: “In the beginning of my career in the schmatta business, I was carrying a lot of shoe samples up the stairs to show a vendor. He said to me, ‘You will make it because you have perseverance. But once you make it, don’t believe the hype.’ That always stays with me to remember to focus on the work and the effort. Perseverance for me in some ways is more important than talent.”
“Another quote I recently heard from a woman I admire tremendously, Isabella Tree, who is a leader in our movement. I asked her, ‘How do you deal with ecological anxiety?’ She gave me a quote I loved by Aldo Leopold, an American author and environmentalist, who said, ‘One of the penalties of an ecological education is one lives alone in a world of wounds.’ That stayed with me. I know the work is difficult, but we must plow ahead.”
Chief Executive Officer, H&M Group
Power Move: Helena Helmersson entered the limelight in January last year, when she was named CEO of the fast-fashion giant. Just a couple of months into her tenure, she was charged with steering the Swedish firm, in the midst of a massive business overhaul, through pandemic-related closures and supply chain challenges. After more than 20 years working her way up the corporate ladder in purchasing roles, then as sustainability manager for the company, she is determined that fashion can play a positive role for change, and her background in corporate social responsibility is seen as key to helping the Swedish fast-fashion giant navigate the shift toward a more sustainable, circular model. Her nomination represented a major shift for the firm; she took over from Karl-Johan Persson, whose family founded the company, who was at its helm for a decade.
Leadership Advice: “To me, leadership comes hand in hand with believing in people and the amazing things we can achieve when we unleash everyone’s potential, become creative together and move toward a joint direction. Empowering people is deeply rooted in our culture and values, and I see this as a shared responsibility which sparks creativity and faster decisions. That, linked to being open to constant feedback to be able to develop, is what helps us as leaders to create value and growth.”
President & CEO, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc.
Power Move: As the first female CEO of a major sporting goods retailer, Lauren Hobart is leading the charge at Dick’s at a time when the company is firing on all cylinders, thanks to its athletic and outdoor prowess, major digital growth, new retail concepts and focus on female empowerment initiatives.
Leadership Advice: “I’m a big believer in open communications, and leading with honest dialogue and transparency. It’s so important to connect with our teammates and make sure they are included and engaged. I’m incredibly grateful to our team at Dick’s Sporting Goods for their openness in return. Our people are what make us great, and we win because of them.”
Chief Executive Officer, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
Power Move: As CEO, Fran Horowitz has executed an impressive, multiyear turnaround of Abercrombie & Fitch. Among the maneuvers: aggressive rationalization of the store fleet by reducing the flagship count, increasing the count on smaller stores, which are designed to be more productive, less costly and omnicapable unlike the flagships; sharpening the identity of the brands in the portfolio so they’re more distinct and with less merchandise redundancy; accelerating social media where A&F has become a leader on TikTok and Instagram, and recasting the marketing so it’s more inclusive, diverse and tasteful.
Leadership Advice: “If I could give advice to my younger self, it would be twofold. First: be your own biggest advocate, you cannot assume others know what you are doing. At the same time, also accept that while you may not have every answer and that you can’t do it all, there is always something to learn by listening to, entrusting and empowering your team and partners, and the sum of that input is usually greater than the parts. Second: I would encourage myself to find balance, which is my favorite word, in work, family and life, as having balance provides the perspective and foundation needed to be successful and at peace both professionally and personally.”
Jane Hertzmark Hudis
Executive Group President, The Estée Lauder Companies
Power Move: The first female executive group president in Lauder’s history, Jane Hertzmark Hudis oversees a powerhouse group of brands including Estée Lauder and La Mer, the leaders in the global sales locomotive that is the skin care category. But it’s her vision for championing women, whether signing Amanda Gorman as global changemaker for Lauder or co-creating the company’s Women’s Leadership Network, that has earned her superstar status inside — and outside — of Lauder HQ.
Leadership Advice: “Pursue a career in an industry that you are passionate about. If you love what you do, you are more likely to succeed. It’s also important to find a mentor, one that you deeply trust who can guide you and be a sounding board as you grow and develop professionally. And remember that as you rise in your career, help lift others alongside you. The mark of a great leader is how they empower others.”
Executive Vice President, Apparel Division, Walmart
Power Move: Denise Incandela’s experience in the retail industry spans more than two decades. Currently, she is executive vice president of apparel and private brands at Walmart U.S., a role she was promoted to in February. In this position, she is in charge of the mass merchant’s apparel offerings in stores and online. She also oversees all private label brands across the entire general merchandise assortment, including in such categories as entertainment, toys, seasonal, home and hardlines. During her tenure at Walmart, which began in late 2017, Incandela has successfully increased the big-box retailer’s apparel presence and e-commerce capabilities, adding Bonobos and Eloquii to the online assortment. The retail executive’s résumé also includes leadership positions at Saks Fifth Avenue, Ralph Lauren and Aerosoles. Incandela currently sits on the board of advisors for The Wharton School’s Baker Retailing Center and the board for the Animal Care Centers of NYC.
Creative Director, Brother Vellies; Founder, 15 Percent Pledge
Power Move: After the death of George Floyd in May 2020, Aurora James created the 15 Percent Pledge, demanding that major retailers commit to buying 15 percent of their products from majority Black-owned businesses. Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Hudson’s Bay, Gap, Banana Republic, Sephora, and Crate & Barrel are among those that have taken the pledge. “It’s about asking what kind of economic support they can pledge to help some of these businesses develop,” she told WWD.
Leadership Advice: “Listen and learn from those around you. Every day I’m listening to my team and other Black small business owners, learning how I can best show up, offer resources, and help move our mission forward.”
Power Move: A vocal advocate for Black designers in the Italian fashion industry, Stella Jean has promoted inclusivity and diversity as part of her namesake clothing brand since 2011, including creating collections collaboratively with indigenous communities. After joining the Black Lives Matter protests in Italy, Jean founded We Are Made in Italy with Michelle Ngonmo and Edward Buchanan. Working to eliminate racial and cultural discrimination in fashion, WAMI launched the “We Are Made in Italy” presentation, in its third iteration this season, to bring African-born, Italian design talents to the Milan Fashion Week runways.
Leadership Advice: “Fashion is a tool of transmitting information; let’s not forget the power that it holds, power that reaches far beyond aesthetics. We must also remember that power and responsibility are two ways of expressing the same concept. It is now time for us to make our very best effort to transform what has been wielded as a supremacist tool for propaganda for too long into one of education and counter-colonization.”
“And I would add to all independent designers: Do not allow yourselves to be intimidated and don’t be afraid. This revolution started from the bottom, exactly as all the revolutions that changed the world…forever.”
Head of Content and Creator Partnerships, Pinterest
Power Move: Aya Kanai is head of content and creator partnerships at Pinterest and was previously editor in chief of the U.S. edition of Marie Claire magazine. Before her appointment at Marie Claire, Kanai has been Hearst Magazines’ chief fashion director since 2016, overseeing the fashion content for Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Seventeen and more.
Leadership Advice: “It is important to stay curious and always ask questions no matter how senior you become. Share what you may not know and where you think your team’s expertise can fill in those gaps. No one knows it all and that’s exactly how it should be.”
Creative Director, Commes des Garçons; Cofounder, Dover Street Market
Power Move: Since 1973, Rei Kawakubo has been one of the most influential designers of our era. She continues to propel the industry forward through her multiple fashion labels, as well as Dover Street Market stores, which she uses to also introduce new talent to the industry.
Chief Executive Officer, P&G Beauty
Power Move: Occupying the top spot at P&G Beauty, Alex Keith is currently the only female chief executive officer at a top 10 beauty company. It is a position well-earned. During her tenure, Keith has re-energized P&G’s once-bloated beauty business and restored significant growth — the CPG giant was the only top five player to post a sales increase in 2020. She’s also transforming the way it does business, overseeing the creation of the Responsible Beauty platform and catapulting P&G to a leadership position in sustainability initiatives.
Leadership Advice: “My advice for emerging leaders is pretty straight-forward: Know what you want, make it known to key leaders and mentors, and be flexible on the path to get there. Each experience brings with it the opportunity to learn and grow, so every stepping stone on your path to your dream job is a chance to better yourself as a practitioner and leader, regardless of what that stepping stone is. When I look back on my assignments, leading our North American Fabric Care business was not part of my plan, but it ended up being an outstanding experience that has informed my thinking and leadership ever since.”
Founder and Creative Director, JNBY
Power Move: In 1994, Hangzhou native Lin Li founded the fashion label JNBY. She later expanded the business into a fashion powerhouse with over a dozen brands and took the company public in Hong Kong in 2016. Her group now operates more than 1,500 stores in China and more than 44 stores across 10 countries. Last year, the group unveiled its 17-building headquarters complex, the OōEli, designed by Renzo Piano in Hangzhou. It comes with an art museum, a boutique hotel, a concept store and China’s first Tsutaya Books store. Li is a lover of art and architecture. She sees fashion as a miniature version of architecture, and she has been a patron at high-profile art institutions like UCCA Beijing.
Entrepreneur and Investor; Founder, Net-a-porter; Cofounder, Imaginary Ventures
Power Move: Natalie Massenet pioneered fashion e-commerce with Net-a-porter.
Leadership Advice: “Surround yourself with the best and smartest people, and paint a picture of what success looks like to help your team dream big, and to execute into the right direction. Also paint a picture of failure, so that they know what not to do.”
Founder and Designer, Stella McCartney; special adviser to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault, and the executive committee members
Power Move: Stella McCartney refused to work with fur and animal products even when it wasn’t fashionable, and has supported mills, suppliers and manufacturers in developing sustainable materials and processes.
Leadership Advice: “I am incredibly honored to be recognized in this year’s ’50 Most Powerful Women’ alongside so many talented and inspiring female leaders. Frankly, this group is proof that we don’t just deserve a seat at the table — we should be sitting at the head of it. Since Day One with my own brand, I have believed that change requires less talk and more action. I am too accustomed to being the only woman in the room, and I know I am not alone in that.
As leaders, we must commit to putting this next generation of women’s needs first — especially as we go into an uncertain future. Globally, 5 percent of women lost their jobs because of COVID-19 compared to just 3.9 percent of men, costing us $800 billion. The jobs women work often offer low wages, few benefits and no security – all while they are expected to care for children. These factors also mean women are also disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis and, while we did not create this problem, I believe our female perspectives are essential to its solution.
Women are equipped with the strength, compassion and connection to Mother Earth today to protect our better tomorrow. As a mum to both boys and girls, I want them to live in a world where they are treated equally. To get there, we must take action now — together.”
Dame Pat McGrath
Makeup Artist and Founder, Pat McGrath Labs
Power Move: Pat McGrath’s creativity is unrivaled. Universally acknowledged to be the best makeup artist in the world, McGrath is also one of the most business-savvy. After spending the early part of her career advising on product development for the likes of Giorgio Armani (the foundation formulas she developed over a decade ago are still bestsellers,) McGrath struck out on her own with an eponymous line that has rewritten the rules of makeup and social media. And as the superlative-loving entrepreneur would say, there is nothing more major than that.
Leadership Advice: “Whenever someone asks me how to ‘make it’ in the fashion and beauty industry, I always tell them to never take anything personally, to work as hard as you possibly can, and never let anyone — or anything — stand in the way of your dreams. I am so fortunate that I’ve spent the last three decades creating products and images that inspire others to unleash their own artistry and manifest their inner beauty on the outside. I always try to remember that my purpose on this earth is to brighten people’s days, create joy, and make it just a little more beautiful. What ultimately keeps me going is the hope that what I’m doing inspires beauty that dares, and emboldens someone to discover their own creativity. Creativity is your best makeup skill, don’t be afraid to experiment.”
Chief Executive Officer, Eurazeo
Power Move: One of very few women leaders in the still very masculine world of finance, Virginie Morgon has played a key role in accelerating investment firm Eurazeo’s diversification and growth since she joined its executive board in 2008, before being named chief executive officer in March 2018. Prior to that, she spent 16 years as an investment banker at Lazard, becoming its youngest managing senior partner in Paris in 2001. She is also vice chairman at Moncler — whose rise she helped to chart and where she stayed on after Eurazeo exited the brand in 2019, generating total proceeds of 1.4 billion euros from its investment — as well as an independent board member at L’Oréal. An advocate for diversity in leadership, she is a founding member of the Women’s Forum for Economy and Society, and is also co-chair of the Paris Committee for Human Rights Watch.
Leadership Advice: “We have the right to take risks by innovating, by making mistakes, by starting over, without fearing to fail in order to succeed.”
Founder, Designer and CEO, Amina Muaddi
Power Move: Amina Muaddi is unstoppable. Even as the pandemic crippled sales of high heels for many key brands, the designer’s distinctive styles continued to resonate strongly, even while people stayed at home. And though she counts many celebrities as fans, there’s no one more loyal right now than Rihanna, who wore Muaddis’ shoes before, during and after the Met Gala last week.
Leadership Advice: “True leadership has a lot to do with being an inspiring force with a vision that motivates and mentors without necessarily being intimidating. Showing emotion, vulnerability and being honest makes those around you support and appreciate you even harder. When you genuinely love your team and work to create a better environment for them and not just for yourself, they will love you back and will give you their 100 percent every day with passion and commitment. It’s OK not to be in control of everything. You can go through hardship and face many challenges, but make it a point that you won’t give up or allow anyone else to tell you what your limits are or what you can become.”
President, Consumer and Marketplace, Nike Inc.
Power Move: Heidi O’Neill oversees more than $40 billion in revenue and is responsible for Nike’s Direct business, including all stores, e-commerce and apps globally. She also leads the Nike brand’s four geographic operating regions — and more than 40,000 employees globally.
Leadership Advice: “Authentic leadership isn’t a medal stand — it’s about moving away from the org chart and working directly within the team. It’s about knowing yourself — your voice, beliefs, values, strengths, and blind spots — and then tapping into the collective power of your team.”
In-house Stylist, YG Entertainment
Power Move: Minjee Park is the official in-house stylist at YG Entertainment where she spearheads looks for some of K-pop’s biggest acts. Her largest focus in recent years has been on Blackpink, seen as the world’s most famous girl group. Blackpink is known for its cutting-edge fashion, which is entirely overseen by Park — who took over duties from K-pop’s other mega stylist Kyoung Won Choi circa 2018. In dressing Blackpink members Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé, Park acts as something of a fashion power broker — helping negotiate visual identities for each girl, along with their major luxury ambassador contracts for brands like Chanel, Celine and Dior. But it’s not only the big brands that Park has her eyes on. The stylist has a quick finger on the pulse — dressing Blackpink’s members in an assortment of up-and-coming brands in between their major fashion house obligations. Dressing the girls in looks by Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Vaquera and Khaite, among others, continues to help move a crucial needle for independent labels.
Managing Director, Selfridges Group
Power Move: Anne Pitcher has redefined department store retail for a digital, experiential and environmentally aware age.
Leadership Advice: “Leading Selfridges Group is about creating joyful experiences for our customers, teams and our local communities. Never has that felt more important, so I am looking forward to building a sustainable future for our teams, our customers and for our business.”
Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-Creative Director, Prada
Power Move: Miuccia Prada has long been considered one of the most intellectual and influential designers in the fashion industry, but her scope has extended to the arts. Setting up the Fondazione Prada with her husband and co-CEO Patrizio Bertelli, she has helped fuel the cultural conversation in Milan and in the foundation’s site in Venice, attracting artists from around the world. She designs to the beat of her own drum, with a distinct aesthetic, while audaciously experimenting with new concepts every season. Prada enjoys the company of her artistic friends, many also hailing from the world of architecture and design, and she was so confident and open-minded that she had no qualms about tapping Raf Simons in 2020 as co-creative director of the Prada brand, saying that she felt the need to reinforce the creativity in her company.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fenty Beauty
Power Move: Her Instagram handle may be Badgalriri, but when it comes to matters of fashion, beauty (and music, of course), Rihanna can do no wrong. After creating a foundation revolution, Fenty Beauty continues to break new ground in beauty, most recently introducing skin care. Fashion-wise, the megastar paused her luxury maison with LVMH last year, all the better to focus on her Savage x Fenty lingerie, backed with $115 million in new funding from a panoply of investors including L Catterton, Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners and Sunley House Capital, part of Advent International.
Chair, Browns; Chief Brand Officer, Farfetch
Power Move: Holli Rogers has married digital with physical retail as head of Browns, and continues to bring them closer together.
Leadership Advice: “I don’t think there’s one piece of advice, but more a mind-set and approach. I’m a big believer in the power of curiosity — the more curious you are, the more you learn — about the business or industry you’re in, about your customer and importantly, about the people who you work with. Curiosity is about openness — to people and new ideas, to change – and seeing it as exciting rather than scary — to sharing your values and aligning with others, and about knowing you don’t have to be an expert in everything — you can always learn more.”
Chief Executive Officer, Stitch Fix
Power Move: Elizabeth Spaulding joined Stitch Fix as president in 2020 to focus on driving the next phase of the company’s growth, including direct buy capabilities and international expansion efforts. Prior to Stitch Fix, Spaulding was global head and founder of the Digital Practice at Bain & Company, where she was a partner and served on the board. During her tenure at Bain, she supported clients in digital transformations, with a particular focus on consumer and technology sectors, and led the firm’s efforts to continually evolve and grow new capabilities through partnerships and M&A. She additionally supported Bain’s pro bono and social impact efforts, a passion she brings to Stitch Fix.
Leadership Advice: “Stay focused on the possibilities and vision of the future. There will be highs and lows, but try to enjoy the journey you’re on with the people you’re on it with. If your optimism is running low, find ways to re-energize yourself. For me, that’s spending more time with the team — visiting our warehouses, talking to our stylists and learning from our tech team members fills me with appreciation and renewed energy, and reminds me that great ideas and innovation are happening in every corner of our business.”
Chairman and CEO, Caleres Inc.
Power Move: As the longtime force at the center of Caleres Inc., Diane Sullivan has built a roster of diverse brands from Sam Edelman to Allen Edmonds to Vionic — and she continues to bolster the 60-year-old Famous Footwear chain. The family retailer drove Caleres’ explosive growth in the second quarter as the chain saw its highest level of Q2 sales in its history, at about $454 million.
Leadership Advice: “Don’t think about what you want to change, but think about where you want to go.”
Stylist; Founder, Period; Cofounder, Wishi
Power Move: In her nearly 20 years as a stylist, Karla Welch has worked her magic on Hollywood celebrities, Olympic athletes and politicos. At the Met Gala alone, she styled Justin Bieber, Hailey Bieber, Rose from Blackpink, Lorde, Ava DuVernay, Naomi Osaka, Karlie Kloss, Tracee Ellis Ross and Megan Rapinoe. An in-demand collaborator, she’s been tapped by Levi’s, Express and Eddie Bauer, among others, and has made her political voice part of her personal brand.
Leadership Advice: “You can’t do it all. Build a team.”
Kim Kardashian West
Founder, Skims, KKW Beauty
Power Move: The latest launch in a career of entertainment and entrepreneurial pursuits, Kim Kardashian West’s inclusive lingerie brand Skims has been a runaway success, racking up $145 million in revenue in 2020 and forecasted to exceed $300 million in 2021. In April, Skims raised $154 million in a Series A funding round from venture capital group Thrive to fuel growth, after receiving a valuation of $1.6 billion. Part of the brand’s success is fueled by Kardashian West’s social media presence; she speaks to 255 million on Instagram and can still shut down a red carpet, as she did at the 2021 Met Gala with her Balenciaga blackout head-to-toe T-shirt look.
Leadership Advice: “Trust your instincts. This is such a key component of all decisions for me — I always evaluate the pros and cons of a situation, but at the end of the day my intuition is the north star.”
President, Performance Lifestyle Group, Deckers Brands
Power Move: Few athletic brands have seen growth like Hoka One One, where Wendy Yang and her team are eyeing $1 billion in sales. They’re well on their way: Hoka’s overall Q2 revenue increased 95 percent to $213.1 million, and the fast-growing running brand accounted for nearly 40 percent of parent company Deckers’ total revenue.
Leadership Advice: “Hire great people and believe in yourself. We have a great team, and we’re growing super fast, [so effective leading] comes down to communication, consistency, discipline and empathy. Those things have never been as important as they are now.”