New Yorker Marc Jacobs (1963) already won awards when he was still studying design at Parsons and launched his own high end yet street-savvy label in 1986. It's a mash of "preppy, grungy and couture-y," according to Jacobs, who's often spotted in dresses and skirts himself, although he claims to be no great innovator in fashion: "My clothes are not hot. Never. What I prefer, is that even if someone feels hedonistic, they don't look it." He's pragmatic to boot: "The customer is the final filter. What survives the whole process is what people wear. I'm not interested in making clothes that end up in some dusty museum."