Some people think of fashion as frivolous, however, there is nothing frivolous about an industry whose leaders’ power and influence transcend its own sphere. Besides these leaders’ phenomenal reach, what is impressive to note, is how varied and diverse the industry actually is. A wealth of talent, not only limited to creative, is at the hub of this multi-billion dollar industry. Here, we look at the top 10 women who steer the sartorial ship.

Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of US Vogue

Not only has Anna shaped the face of fashion worldwide but she is helping to shape the future face of politics too, proving to be a valuable asset in both Obama’s election and re-election. In June this year, she hosted a 50 person, $40 000 per plate dinner at Sarah Jessica Parker’s townhouse.

Diane Von Furstenberg, designer and president of CFDA

Described by Vogue in 1976 as ‘the most marketable female in fashion since Coco Chanel’, Diane captured the heart of Prince Egon of Furstenberg, inspired work by Warhol and gave us the wrap dress. Thirty years on, DVF is thriving and her appointment as president of the esteemed CFDA, confirms her unrelenting relevance in the industry.

Gisele Bundchen, model. 

Undeniably the most successful model of our time. Gisele has graced over 500 magazine covers and has held the top of the financial leader board in her field for the past five years. Forbes disclosed her 2011 earnings as $45 million – nearly five times more than that of second place contender, Kate Moss.

Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen

Named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, Sarah Burton is praised for her work as Alexander McQueen’s successor. The designer was responsible for the making of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton’s wedding dress and received an OBE from The Queen.

Natalie Massenet, founder and CEO of Net-A-Porter

As founder and CEO of the first and most successful luxury e-tail site, Net-A-Porter, Natalie revolutionised high-end shopping. In 2010, 10 years after the company’s inception, luxury conglomerate Richemont bought out Natalie’s 18% share at £50 million – valuing the company at an estimated £350 million. Despite the buy-out, Natalie has maintained her role as CEO and has since launched two sister-sites, Mr Porter and The Outnet. As says Alfred Dunhill’s Chris Colfer, ‘Natalie was first in – and best dressed!’

Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton

While The Duchess might not have an active role in fashion today (she once held the position of accessories buyer for Jigsaw), her personal wardrobe’s reach is astronomical. Case studies of ‘The Kate Effect’ include an Orla Kiely print dress, Burberry trench coat and silk Reiss dress – all of which sold out within 24 hours of their royal debut.

Betsy Pearce, founder and principal of Pearce LLP

The high-profile attorney, Betsy Pearce, divides her professional time between the two great fashion capitals of the world, New York and Paris. She has counselled Phoebe Philo in negotiations with Chloe, Kris Van Assche with Dior Homme and Derek Lam with Tod’s – to name but a few.

Delphine Arnault, director at LVMH

In 2003, Delphine was appointed the only woman to the LVMH board of directors. As deputy managing director of Dior, she has been earmarked by Fortune Magazine as a future CEO in the making. The first quarter of 2012 saw the group’s sales increase by 25% to $8.5 billion.

Sara Blakely, founder and owner of Spanx

As the owner and founder of the ever-successful body shaping underwear brand, Spanx, Sara Blakely has been honoured as one of Time’s Most Influential People, as well as Forbes’ youngest self-made female billionaire.

Floriane De Saint Pierre, executive strategic search

The go-to headhunter in haute couture, Floriane is responsible for facilitating some of the most high-powered appointments in fashion. She also looks to develop succession plans for fashion houses whose designers are set to retire, having done so for both Dior and Givenchy.

Photos via Zimbio and Style Bistro.

Nikki Horsten, CT intern