Maya AlZaben is a fashion writer, astrologer and MA Fashion Studies graduate student at Parsons School of Design.
Think of the words you would typically use to describe your favorite fashion pieces. These adjectives more than likely include: tailored, refined, bespoke, stylish, clean, perfect — words also associated with the Zodiac sign Virgo.
It's no coincidence that many of the greatest names in fashion were born between Aug. 22 and Sept. 22 (or, in trendier terms, Virgo season): Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Kim Jones, Stella McCartney, Olivier Rousteing, Thomas Burberry, Laquan Smith, Elsa Schiaparelli, Simone Rocha, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Anthony Vaccarello among them.
But what exactly makes a Virgonian embellishment so…..fashionable? Being a Virgo myself, I wondered (just as Dhani once wondered about Scorpios), why are there so many Virgos in fashion, and specifically in design?
All about Virgo
Opposite its sister sign,"big picture" dreamy Pisces, on the astrological wheel, Virgo rules over meticulous detail, communication and practicality. Venus — the planet of love, beauty, money and ultimately fashion — is in "exaltation" when it's in Pisces, an astrological term used to describe when a planet is in a sign that makes it feel "favored" and elevated, almost like the life of the party. (Alexander McQueen and Gianni Versace are both Pisces moons.) If Venus is exalted in Pisces and Pisces opposes Virgo, this essentially means Venus is in its "fall" when it's in Virgo; it's weak and loses influence.
Now establishing this, you might decide that Virgo hates fashion. But on the Zodiac wheel, Virgo is sandwiched in between aesthetic-loving, balanced Libra and glamorous Leo. Generally — and especially if the Virgo planet is in a later degree (25°-29°) or earlier degree (0°-5°) — it takes the traits of the previous or next sign. Many Virgos actually have both Libra and Leo placements in their charts because they're right next to Virgo, which conclusively fuels Virgo with the ultimate passion for fashion. Bella Hadid, for instance, is a Libra sun and a double Virgo moon and rising — explains so much, doesn't it? Virgo is also the sixth sign of the zodiac, and in numerology, six is the number of love and harmony, attributes linked to Venus.
The most important month in fashion, September (a time of fashion weeks and "September issues"), also takes up half of the Virgo season. The other half is dominated by Venus-ruled Libra, making September a highly coveted period of time powered with both detail and aesthetics in terms of runway, editorial photos and reviews. Virgos are known to be extremely organized and routined, much like the fashion week schedules (for the most part...). Designers usually display their best collection during this time because of the anticipation and regality that comes with September.
Because Virgo rules over detail, the sign suitably (I love a good pun) rules over tasks such as sewing, tailoring, designing, haute couture and styling, which require specific attention to fine points. As an Earth sign, Virgo appreciates how things are made and what goes into making them. Virgo is the healer of the zodiac, and if a garment was the patient, Virgo designers (and stylists) are the doctors that bring it to life.
I spoke to stylist Mecca James-Williams, a fellow Virgo in fashion, to explore her POV as, duh, a Virgo in fashion. Her perspective perfectly illustrates the manifestation of Leo and Libra traits in Virgos. "Virgos, once healed, are about leveling up everything they touch and encouraging everyone to push their limits and ignite the truest forms of life," she says. "We're extravagant because we know we deserve and can receive all the luxuries of life. We also show up when it's time to get gritty or get the job done. It really is the sign that has the best of both worlds — just don't get in their way."
The sign is also governed by the planet Mercury, which rules over intellect, reading and writing. Virgo's the sign of overthinking, and unlike Gemini, which is also ruled by Mercury, Virgo analyzes and investigates things on a profound level. Besides CR Fashion Book's very own Carine Roitfield, one of the most critically acclaimed Virgos in fashion is Robin Givhan, the only fashion writer with a Pulitzer Prize.
Together with Gemini, Sagittarius and Pisces, Virgo is a mutable sign, meaning that it does well with change and adaptability compared to signs like Leo and Aquarius, who fall under the fixed modality and prefer things just the way they are. Virgo designers easily adapt to changing trends and seasons, which is why designers like Tom Ford and the late Karl Lagerfeld have had such long tenures and success at their respective labels.
As the sign of perfection, Virgo spends as much time as she needs to complete a task. James-Williams concurs that her creative, idealistic and vibrant approach to fashion, storytelling, and culture are all strengths from being a Virgo.
"I approach my projects with a faith of success, a strong desire to excel and a keen strategic look on how to complete the project. I also love to collaborate," she says. "While Virgos tend to have a high level of perfection, collaborating with people gives them a great opportunity to build a cohesive project, and it helps remove the need for everything to be right; but just creating a successful flow."
James-Williams emphasizes that there's a strong tribe of Virgos in fashion, explain "Women are trailblazing the creative world and creating a lane of their own. It's been a joy to see how many bold and eccentric women are here. We approach our style, point of view and legacy with such dedication, but make it look fun and sincere."
Designers and their Virgo placements
Albeit 43 years apart, Elsa Schiaparelli and Karl Lagerfeld were both born on Sept. 10 with wildly different birth charts but a noteworthy shared Virgo sun at 17 degrees; this degree is ruled by Leo, the sign of fame, popularity and over-the-topness.
Remember the Chanel hula-hoop bag from the Spring 2013 collection? Or Schiaparelli's Fall 1938 collection featuring a Zodiac jacket embroidered with crescent moons and glistening shooting stars (one of which sold for almost $130,000 at auction)? Leo fashion wants to be seen by the world, much like the sun. Besides this, both Lagerfeld and Schiaparelli have a combination of more than two Virgo and Libra placements in their charts, and Venus aspecting either their North Nodes (a lunar node that determines our life purpose and destiny in this lifetime) or Midheaven (the point of the sky that divinely determines our career paths). Gianni Versace is a Sagittarius sun, and as a Scorpio rising, he has Virgo on his midheaven — his destiny was quite literally to become a designer.
Without an accurate birth time, it's relatively impossible to determine which houses the planets are perched in. However, all these planetary aspects and placements aside, I wouldn't consider myself an astrologer if I didn't also include a disclaimer compelling you to analyze your entire chart. One or two (even three, four, five, etc.) placements are never enough to get the full picture. I'm going to use myself and my siblings as proof of this: Yes, I'm a Virgo sun with many telltale aspects and placements that suggest a confirmed seat at the fashion table for me — a Libra Rising and Moon; my chart-ruler Venus is in the 10th house of career, and Venus also rules over most of my seventh house of collaborations — but I'm also a triplet with siblings that absolutely despise fashion. We're each born exactly a minute apart, which gives our fraternal selves identical natal charts. And yet, my twin brother is a geneticist and my twin sister has chosen a track in nutrition and medical devices, both pathways in health and science that combat my preference for runways. The placements and aspects in our charts manifest in different ways and may reveal different traits in different people.
Fashion month in Virgo Season: what you need to know
By publishing time for this story, Venus will have moved from romantic and flamboyant Leo into judge-y Virgo alongside the sun on Sept. 5. Planets in the same sign work to amplify each other in what's called a conjunction. Venus generally gets the ick when it's in Virgo — it's not a placement that love-obsessed Venus likes to be in. Nevertheless, Virgo's the sign of acts of service, so productivity might relatively be heightened during this time. With the Moon in Capricorn on this day trining (same element) the Sun in Virgo, there's a feeling of ease and motivation to organize ourselves before New York Fashion Week's official first day, Sept. 9.
Fashion week goers might find themselves choosing more earthy colors, like greens and browns, and may take a longer time to perfect their outfits. You're going to want to put more detail into your ensembles, so I'd advise you to look through your closets and plan days before a show.
Sept. 9 also coincides with the first day of Mercury Retrograde in Libra, a.k.a. possible chaos in fashion. Be extra cautious with scheduling, seating arrangements and dealing with your colleagues. Outside of fashion, there's a sense of passive-aggressiveness in the air and a need to run away from issues in favor of harmony. With the sun still in Virgo, though, nit-picking is inevitable.
On Sept. 10, the sky welcomes a Full Moon in Pisces; generally, events that happen during the full moon come with a heightened sense of drama and importance — I wouldn't be surprised if designers showing on this day like Marni, Dion Lee and Prabal Gurung are more celebrated during this time. With the retrograde, though, the Sun in snobby Virgo and Mars in chatty Gemini, it wouldn't be shocking to see some kind of scandal play out at a show that weekend.
On a larger scale, the Full Moon in Pisces exactly opposing the Sun in Virgo invites us to take off our deceptive rose-tinted glasses in favor of clarity and truth in the house that you have Pisces in. Expect a dream or epiphany to shed light on a situation you've been confused about.
Only time will tell. Astrology is never (fashionably) late — it's always right on time.