Paris and Fashion
From Palais Royal, Place Vendome where the first designers, Chanel, Poiret, and other famous couture brands started, this tour is all about Fashion History and Haute Couture.
* This is not a shopping tour.
While Paris is often called “City of Light, City of Love”, today we still call it the fashion capital as the Fashion Week and the beautiful dresses of Emily in Paris still dominates the picture.
Paris isn’t just the fashion capital of the world but is kind of the fashion magnet of the world.
Where does this reputation came from?
This is what we will tackle during my fashion history tour. We will see how Fashion was important to the kings and Queens, understand the important role of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, understand the complexity of every couture..
Every detail in fashion was calculated and it can tell you the role, the job and even the rank of the person in the Social ladder of France, during the 18th century.
The chief minister of France, Jean Baptiste Colbert boosted Paris to become the leading player in the game of fashion. But this is just a small portion of the journey Paris has covered to dominate the world of fashion and style.
Why visit Paris and learn about the Fashion in Paris?
Versailles brought many changes to the European fashion history. The biggest designer houses are still based in Paris.
Paris doesn’t need any justification: We can talk about the birth of haute couture, I can show you the workshops, go behind the scenes, show you paintings or invite you to fashion shows, catwalks.
A place like Paris can never be completely understood without understanding its descent and relationship with fashion. And that cannot be done without talking about Haute Couture.
In simple words, Haute Couture is the creation of exclusive and customized fashion design that is created by hand from start to end. Unlike ready-made garments which work according to standardized garments sizes, Haute Couture is personalized and needs a higher skillset and talent.
The creation of the convention of the French Federation of Haute Couture to define clearly what is Haute Couture and make the apparel industry more personalized took place in Paris in 1973 and ever since has been adopted by all countries.
Fashion shows became the forerunner of Haute Couture and while some think that fashion shows are a highlight of the present, Fashions shows were held in Paris as early as the 18th century. The revolutionary idea to cast fashion models instead of mannequins was also conceived in Paris. Parisian designers were the first ones to accommodate diversity by including 11 black models at the Battle of Versailles, which was an inspiring number during that time.
Marie Antoinette and Haute Couture
No one can remember Haute Couture without Marie Antoinette.
Marie Antoinette of Versailles belonged to a period during which for a woman to be noticed beyond royalty was almost impossible. Her legacy and influence dictated European fashion so much so that her name is well-remembered till date.
Ruling the hearts of Europeans through her experiments in fashion and interior design, Marie Antoinette was more than just a royal personality and queen. The Louis XVI style that finds its roots in Neoclassicism, takes much inspiration from Queen Marie Antoinette. Thus, being an irrefutable testimony to her passion and contribution.
Considered to be the first consumer of haute couture fashion, Marie Antoinette patronized creations of Rose Bertin and carried them off with grace and style. Through her efforts to empower and encourage fashion, Rose Bertin soon became the first known fashion designer, with her designs continuing to stir the world till date. As the fashion experiment continued, court appearances were considered a grand affair with everyone looking forward to seeing what the queen had experimented with next. Poufs which are also a part of today’s hairstyle trends can be traced back to Marie Antoinette’s fashion experiment during court appearances.
Famous Brands of Paris
There is nothing more talk-worthy about Paris than its classic fashion houses and brands. Undeniably, the best place to be for fashion lovers, Paris breathes fashion in everyday living, because each day every Parisian fashion designer thinks of ways to expand their influence in the world and create forms of attires that reflect Paris and its ties with fashion in more subtle ways. In order to create a reality which intertwines fashion and everyday life, several Parisian designers have revolutionized the face of the industry and secured an eternal place in the hearts of fashion-lovers all around the globe.
The French Luxury Fashion House, Dior, was created by Christian Dior in 1946. What is interesting is the fact that Christian Dior found his natural calling towards architecture, but at the age of 41 decided to open his own couture house, setting unsurpassed benchmarks for designers all around the globe.
Creating breakthrough fashion trends such as cinched waist and adding A-line skirts to mainstream style of the 40s, Dior has made enormous contributions to be rightly sitting at the top-most position among French designers and designers of the world. Today, Dior is influencing the world of cosmetics and fragrances too.
Chanel is one of the few French brands whose name needs no introduction. An internationally acclaimed fashion giant, Chanel started off from a humble journey of hat-making in Paris in 1910. Coco is the sole pioneer of Chanel, but the house was also greatly influenced by Arthur Capel too.
Coco Chanel was inspired to create fashion that was elegant yet simple and in no time the extravagant and restrictive dress made way for the convenient and stylish attires by Coco in the wardrobes of women. The classic “Little Black Dress” or LBD, considered enough to be the highlight of any event, is just one of the many contributions of Chanel’s that women can never be sufficiently grateful for.
A 16-year old Louis Vuitton in Paris started by solving a major problem faced by travellers. In order to pack and protect the valuable objects from the rough push and pull of journey in the 1800s, Louis Vuitton started his box-making and packing business under the appointment of Napoleon III.
In a series of experiments and popularity of rectangular trunks, Louis Vuitton witnessed a significant expansion of his business and has grown ever since to become what it is today.
Lanvin is the third oldest fashion house of Paris.
Just like Coco Chanel, Lanvin’s founder Jeanne Lanvin started her journey at the age of 22 with the business of hat making. However, Lanvin’s story is more heart-warming as the brand received a direction after the birth of Jeanne’s daughter.
Jeanne involved herself in the designing a collection specifically catering to kids, after which expanded into women’s fashion, thus catering to both mother and daughter wardrobe. Today, Lavin delves in both women and men’s fashion.
The name behind Givenchy is Hubert de Givency, who was an apprentice designer with an expansive experience under personalities like Jacques Fath, Lucien Lelong, Robert Piguet and Elsa Schiaparelli.
It was no time that Givenchy’s talent started getting noticed and he made his mark not only in the fashion industry but also cinema. Working with personalities like Audrey Hepburn who soon became his muse, Givenchy’s revolutionary creations are immortalized in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady and Sabrina. 1969 witnessed Givenchy’s entry into men’s fashion and its legacy etched in the heart of Paris.
Hubert de Givenchy is buried in the famous cemetery of Pere Lachaise, which the 2nd most beautiful cemetry in the world.
You can visit the Cemetery of Pere Lachaise with me as your tour guide in Paris.
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent was a man way ahead of its time and that’s the reason why his fashion was considered revolutionary. Starting off with Dior, Yves Saint Laurent is credited with pioneering the “Le Smoking tuxedo suit” for women, a challenging fashion trend indeed.
One of the primary reasons why Yves Saint Laurent was loved across the 25 years of his influential journey, was because he gave birth to attires that promoted gender fluidity. His convention challenging approach led him to work with models from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
While European fashion centred around the creation of heavy and limiting attires for women, Yves Saint Laurent path breaking work paved the way for more comfortable and easier to carry clothing for women.
Jean Paul Gaultier
While Yves Saint Laurent created more gender-fluid designs, the French haute couture, Jean Paul Gaultier tweaked around men and women fashion, creating fashion conventions of his own. Gaultier worked at Hermes for a good amount of time and made heads turn with his collaboration with Supreme in 2019. His out-of-the-ordinary creations already created a buzz in the fashion world, however, with his collaboration with Madonna, Jean Paul Gaultier received stardom that marked his name in the books of history and fashion in Paris.
Many designers still consider Paris as a source of inspiration.
No matter which street you go, Paris will surprise you with something different.
A nice Paris trip is never complete without a shopping spree in the beautiful department stores or the chic boutiques.
You can out to the flea markets and consider yourself in a treasure trove of designs, as the collection here will not let your hands stop.