She may not be a household name like Coco Chanel or Elsa Schiaparelli, but the fact is Madeleine Chéruit helped pave the way for female fashion designers, becoming one of the first women to control a major French fashion house, at the turn of the century. Chéruit got her start working as a dressmaker at Raudnitz & Cie House of Couture in the late 1880s, but her talent was so exceptional that she eventually took over the salon and its more than 100 employees in 1905, renaming it Chéruit. She helped launch the career of Paul Poiret by supporting his designs, won the praise of Vogue, and was one of the few couture houses that remained open during WWI. Though the house shuttered in 1935, Chéruit’s influence in fashion design–and particularly female fashion design–can still be felt. In fact, it was Elsa Schiaparelli who famously took over Chéruit’s 98-room studio and salon, forever tying the two designers together.