The fashion industry is a whole world of its own. Styles and trends vary from place to place, with differences from decade to decade. Some brands are continuously sought after and revered for being the best of the best. The brands that set the trends – and make you pay top dollar to be included. So, what are the most expensive clothing designer brands?
High fashion comes from all over the globe, with most high-end luxury designers coming from Italy and France. The most expensive designer clothing brands are esteemed for their products made from high-quality materials in fashion-forward designs. Some top designer brands include Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton.
In this article, we will go over 28 of the most expensive designer clothing brands, where they began and what they are best known for. We will also cover which designer brands hold their value over time and some of the top designer brands for men.
- What is a Luxury Designer Fashion Brand?
- 28 Most Expensive Designer Clothing Brands
- 1. Giorgio Armani
- 2. Balmain
- 3. Balenciaga
- 4. Burberry
- 5. Céline
- 6. Chanel
- 7. Comme des Garçons
- 8. Oscar de la Renta
- 9. Christian Dior
- 10. Dolce & Gabbana
- 11. Fendi
- 12. Salvatore Ferragamo
- 13. Tom Ford
- 14. Givenchy
- 15. Gucci
- 16. Hermès
- 17. Marc Jacobs
- 18. Lanvin
- 19. Ralph Lauren
- 20. Christian Louboutin
- 21. Stella McCartney
- 22. Alexander McQueen
- 23. Prada
- 24. Valentino
- 25. Versace
- 26. Louis Vuitton
- 27. Vivienne Westwood
- 28. Yves Saint Laurent
- What are the Best Luxury Designer Brands to Invest in?
- Luxury Clothing Brands with More Affordable Diffusion Lines
- 10 Most Expensive Designer Brands for Men
What is a Luxury Designer Fashion Brand?
Designer fashion brands can cover a wide array of products – but most of them have something in common – they represent the best of the best. High-end fashion seeks to epitomize the peak of luxury. To create an exclusive club everyone wants to be a part of – but has to pay a hefty price to be included. Luxury designer fashion brands tout opulence and exclusivity. Luxury designer fashion creates a desirable lifestyle that is out of reach for most people – but one that we all gawk at nonetheless.
Luxury designer fashion brands pride themselves in long-lasting, high-quality goods – goods that come with a price tag. These products are often made by hand by top people in the industry. They are also often made in limited quantities – increasing their value simply by the demand itself. High-end designer products aim to be stylish, forward-thinking and unique. Designs can be futuristic or timeless classics. Either way – they don’t want to follow the trends but rather set them.
28 Most Expensive Designer Clothing Brands
Fashion brands can come and go as quickly as the seasons. There is always room for a new fashion trend, with people eager to be different and be the first. But getting into – and, more importantly – staying in the market isn’t easy. What sets many of these designer clothing brands apart from others is their staying power – some having been in business for over a century! Below you will find 28 of the most expensive designer brands in the world today.
1. Giorgio Armani
A household name for fashion – Georgio Armani was founded in Milan, Italy in 1975. Armani is one of the most successful Italian designers of all time – one of the wealthiest openly LGBTQ people in the world.
Although Armani is known to have pioneered red-carpet fashion with his high-end fashion designs – he has since broken out into many other sectors with lines aimed at the middle market. The Armani empire has also expanded well beyond the fashion world alone – having stakes in music and sports and high-end luxury hotels in Milan and Dubai.
Balmain is a French luxury designer fashion house – founded by Pierre Balmain in Paris, France, in 1945. His name may not be as widely familiar as some designers – but in his day was outfitting stars such as Ava Gardner and Brigitte Bardot. Balmain’s designs tended to be simple and modest, as opposed to overly flashy. After he died in 1982 – the fashion house was run by fashion vet Oscar de la Renta.
Balenciaga is one of the oldest, most respected fashion houses still operating today. Established by Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga in 1919, Balenciaga is known for its couture fashion designs that are made with the utmost care and quality. Recently, Balenciaga has gained popularity with its trendsetting sneakers and boots. Many celebrities flock to Balenciaga goods for their everyday wear – loving their standout cutting-edge, fashion-forward designs.
Burberry is a British company – just think of their past lines “London” and “Brit” – most famously known for their trench coats and iconic tartan check print. Burberry was founded in 1856 – surely one of the oldest designers to exist – by Thomas Burberry, who initially set out to develop and produce outdoor attire. In the early 1900s – Burberry outfitted many of the world’s great explorers – a testament to the quality of their long-lasting goods.
The trench coat, which this brand is so well known for, was created during World War I – and became a popular fashion accessory. Burberry’s iconic check pattern has been used since the 1920s – originally being most widely used as the lining for their trench coats.
Céline is another long-standing fashion house in France – founded in 1945 by Céline Vapiana. Céline is well known for its luxury leather goods and handbags but also has a full ready-to-wear line. Céline was originally opened by Vapiana and her husband as a children’s shoe brand – they changed their focus to womenswear in 1960.
It’s almost impossible to recognize one designer as the most famous of them all – but if you had to choose, Chanel might just be it. The French fashion house founded by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in 1909 has been famous for its women’s ready-to-wear suits, perfumes, and quilted leather accessories for over a century. It seems like just about everything that comes out of this brand is timeless and iconic – Chanel is a true powerhouse in the fashion world.
7. Comme des Garçons
Comme des Garçons – also known simply as CDG – is a Japanese Fashion brand founded by Rei Kawakubo in 1969 in Tokyo – but is now headquartered in France. CDG has had various fashion lines over the years and has a cutting-edge look – putting the focus on the arts and cultures. Many of their designs have portrayed a more grungy, punk-rock, distressed look as opposed to many of the other high-end designers on this list.
8. Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta was a fashion designer from the Dominican Republic who trained and worked for many other designers – including Balenciaga, Balmain, and Lanvin. Born in 1932, de la Renta became internationally famous in the 1960s and was especially well known for dressing the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy. Oscar de la Renta is still a favorite of the stars today.
9. Christian Dior
Christian Dior is another household name for famous French luxury fashion – founded at the end of 1946. Dior is a brand that boasts a wide array of products – from evening wear to ready-to-wear collections, shoes, bags, cosmetics and fragrances.
Dior also offers a full men’s line – Dior Homme – and a children’s and baby line of luxury fashion. Another favorite of Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor, as well as today’s top actors and actresses.
10. Dolce & Gabbana
Also referred to by just their initials – D&G – Dolce & Gabbana is an Italian brand formed in 1985 by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. In addition to their ready-to-wear line, this luxury fashion house is known for their accessories, handbags, and cosmetics. Dolce & Gabbana has worked with some of the leading women in the music world – including Madonna, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, and Mary J. Blige.
Another Italian house that has been around for nearly a century – Fendi, was founded in Rome in 1925 by Adele and Eduardo Fendi. Originally launched as a fur and leather goods shop – Fendi has become revered for its quality, long-lasting investment pieces. Karl Lagerfeld became an integral part of the Fendi team in 1965 – designing the iconic double F logo in 1966. This was also around the time Fendi expanded its interests into the United States and released their first high-fashion line.
12. Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo was born to a poor Italian family in 1898 and found his calling at the age of nine when he fashioned his first pair of shoes. Ferragamo established a following in the United States in the early 1930s – where he’d set up shop in California. His designs were loved by Hollywood’s most adored starlets – Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Judy Garland.
The Ferragamo line now includes clothing, accessories, and fragrances for both men and women. But to this day – Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the most well-known shoemakers in history.
13. Tom Ford
One of the youngest on the list – Tom Ford is an American designer, born in 1961 – well after many of the oldest European fashion houses were established. Tom Ford worked for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent before opening his namesake label in 2004. With lines for both men and women – Tom Ford is the epitome of American high-end luxury fashion and a favorite for many who walk the red carpet.
Another long-standing French fashion house – Givenchy, was founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy. Since his earliest days – Givenchy has been highly acclaimed in the fashion world, receiving praise from Vogue and The New York Times. Givenchy started in women’s wear but began massive expansion in the 1970s – releasing lines for men, shoes, ties, jewelry, tableware, and upholstery.
Givenchy has dressed some of today’s most noteworthy celebrities – Lauren Bacall, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, Jaqueline Kennedy, and Beyoncé – just to name a few. But perhaps his most famous design was the little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
One of the most well-known Italian brands of all time – Gucci, was founded in 1920 in Florence by Guccio Gucci. Gucci has a long history – that goes way beyond just fashion. His first shop opened selling leather luggage, but today Gucci has product lines in just about every market niche.
While their handbags remain some of their most admired goods – Gucci also offers complete ready-to-wear lines for women and men, footwear, all types of accessories, and home decor. Gucci’s logo is one of the most iconic and recognizable and can be found adorning all sorts of their products.
Perhaps the longest-standing fashion house of them all – Hermès was established nearly two centuries ago, in 1837 in Paris, by Thierry Hermès. Originally a purveyor of leather goods – today, Hermès boasts an incredibly long list of product lines. Luxury accessories and fragrances are among their most well-known products – Hermès also offers ready-to-wear lines, homewares and furnishings, watches and jewelry. Perhaps one of their most iconic items – Hermès scarves and ties are immediately recognizable in their colorful, whimsical patterns and designs.
17. Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs is an American designer born in 1963 – one of the youngest designers of his time to receive some of the fashion industry’s highest accolades. His first collection under the Marc Jacobs label was designed in 1986. He was the creative director for Louis Vuitton for 17 years before cutting ties to focus on his own luxury brand.
A slightly lesser-known luxury fashion brand, Lanvin is the third oldest French fashion house still in operation today. Founded in 1889 by Jeanne Lanvin, who began his fashion career making eye-catching ensembles for his daughter. Today Lanvin’s lines include women’s ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, and accessories.
19. Ralph Lauren
Perhaps America’s most iconic designer – Ralph Lauren, founded his namesake corporation in 1967 with a line of men’s ties. Since then – Lauren has established himself as not only a fashion designer but a philanthropist and billionaire businessman. Ralph Lauren has numerous product lines for men and women, fragrances, and home collections.
20. Christian Louboutin
Christian Louboutin has made his name in the high-end fashion world with his trademark red-lacquer-soled stilettos. Originally a freelance fashion designer, Louboutin opened his own Paris shoe salon in the early 1990s. Louboutin’s signature stiletto is a favorite amongst celebrity cohorts. Since branching off onto his own – the Christian Louboutin brand now offers men’s footwear, fragrances, handbags, and cosmetics.
21. Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney is a British fashion designer – daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney, and long-time animal rights activist. McCartney launched her first line in 2001 as a joint venture with Gucci. She is adamant about using no leather or fur in her designs and launched an organic skincare line in 2007.
22. Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen was a British couture fashion designer who worked for Givenchy before founding his own label in 1992. McQueen was known for his edgy couture designs and for having dramatic, theatrical catwalk shows. His designs have been revered for their quality tailoring while garnering controversial comments.
An Italian fashion house established in 1913 – Prada, was founded by Mario Prada in Milan.
Prada is well known for its high-end luxury products, many of which are cutting-edge. Leather goods and handbags are amongst their most noteworthy products, though they also offer ready-to-wear, accessories, and shoes.
Valentino is another well-known Italian designer with a long-standing position in the fashion industry. Born in 1932 – Valentino was interested in fashion early on and gained international recognition in the 1960s – this was amplified after Jaqueline Kennedy personally took notice of one of his designs.
One of the most luxurious – and expensive – brands in the world, Versace was founded in Milan in 1978 by Gianni Versace. Versace’s designs – whether their ready-to-wear or accessories lines – are known for their unique, colorful, bold, repetitive prints.
26. Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton was established in 1854 in Paris, France. The paradigm of luxury fashion – Louis Vuitton’s trademark LV monogram can be seen on their luggage, handbags, accessories, ready-to-wear, jewelry, watches, and shoe lines. Having an incredibly large presence in the fashion industry – Louis Vuitton is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses.
27. Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood is an English fashion designer best known for the characteristic modern punk designs she brought into the high-fashion world in the 1970s. An activist as well – Westwood has used her fashion platform to promote her political beliefs and ideals.
28. Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent was a French designer who established his label in Paris in 1962. He was considered one of the most forward-thinking designers of the 21st century. YSL brought ready-to-wear fashion to a reputable position and designed women’s garments that were both elegant and comfortable. Before establishing a fashion house of his own, YSL was the lead designer at Dior at just 21 years old.
What are the Best Luxury Designer Brands to Invest in?
If you’re planning a splurge purchase, it’s a good idea to choose a timeless item that won’t go out of style next season and one that will hold up over time. Choose classic options that will always be fashionable and can be used for years. Some brands will hold their value better than others. For a safer option – don’t choose outlandish trendy pieces.
Louis Vuitton’s signature monogram is a fashion statement in itself. Some of the highest quality products as well – you’ll be carrying this bag for a long time. Burberry’s goods are designed to hold up to regular use – classic goods that are made to be used and that won’t go out of style as one of the oldest fashion houses around – Hermés will always stand the test of time as well.
Luxury Clothing Brands with More Affordable Diffusion Lines
As with many brands – some companies have their foot in the door of varying markets and products – it’s no different in the fashion industry. To reach a wider client base – some high-end fashion designer brands also offer more affordable diffusion lines for the middle market.
Ralph Lauren is a classic example, with lines from preppy casual wear – Chaps – to their elegant, luxury lines – Ralph Lauren Collection, for women, and Purple Label, for men. One can find garments for every niche of the fashion industry within the Ralph Lauren Corporation – not to mention their expansive offerings for the home. Armani is another designer with a much more affordable line than Armani Exchange. Comme des Garçons also has a casual line – CDG Play.
Some of these super high-end designer prices are so exuberantly expensive, to begin with – their diffusion lines may still appear pricey, but a lot less so when compared. If you’re looking for a high-quality brand but don’t want to pay the high investment price – it may be worth looking into the possibility of less expensive product lines.
10 Most Expensive Designer Brands for Men
Many of the designers discussed above offer men’s lines along with their women’s. Below you will find 10 expensive designer brands that are some of the favorites for catering to men.
1. Giorgio Armani
With so many lines – Armani has a lot to offer men. From perfectly tailored suits to a wide range of custom-fit luxury garments – Armani will have you covered.
For the finest leather gear crafted in the traditional methods – Berluti meets the mark. The craftsmanship of their high-fashion garments can’t be beaten.
3. House of Bijan
Some of the most exclusive, high-quality, high-fashion menswear can be found at House of Bijan. House of Bijan suits has been worn by numerous U.S. presidents. It is one of the most expensive men’s stores in the world.
4. Hugo Boss
A major global fashion house – Hugo Boss provides sophisticated, sleek looks for men – whether it’s everyday wear or evening wear you seek.
A Brioni suit is a one-of-a-kind investment. Incredibly high-quality and able to customize the fits and fabrics to your ideal – Brioni is the lap of men’s luxury.
6. Thom Browne
For the confident man who loves cutting-edge, stand-out fashion and isn’t afraid to try something new, Thom Browne has designs for those who are ready to set the next trend.
7. Brunello Cucinelli
An expansive collection of items, each of which is handcrafted in Italy, especially known for the finest cashmere, as well as luxury knits. Support this brand for the bonus of their sustainable and humanistic approach to the fashion industry.
8. Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren Purple Label is a luxury line designed just for men. A collection of premium garments with a classic aesthetic, crafted from the finest materials
9. Paul Smith
For cutting-edge, eye-catching gear – Paul Smith has revolutionized men’s luxury fashion. For something unique and bold – but crafted with the utmost care – Paul Smith is the designer for you.
10. Ermenegildo Zegna
One of the oldest Italian fashion houses that remains an innovator in the industry, Zegna’s designs are luxurious, relaxed and refined.
The world of high-fashion designer clothes is a spectacle to be seen. The impeccable craftsmanship that creates these pieces can tout unique designs and incredible precision. While the height of luxury fashion may not be attainable by most – bags and gowns, suits and shoes that cost thousands of dollars literally – it can still be fun to watch. Like artwork in a museum – many of these designs are truly artistic creations – part of a show, more fantasy than reality. If you could choose one high-fashion designer to fill your wardrobe, who would it be?!