• Flora Tours in Paris

My Fashion History Tour in Paris

Updated: Sep 16

The Fashion Capital of the World is the title given to Paris, while there are others too like “City of Light, City of Love” etc, fashion capital still dominates the picture.


Paris isn’t just the fashion capital of the world but is rather the fashion magnet of the world. France capitalised on fashion to make Paris’s culture even more powerful. Louis XIV played an important role in shaping Paris as the fashion capital, as it is regarded today.


The chief minister of France, Jean Baptiste Colbert, saw the potential in 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?



Paris is the cradle for fashion.



And this phrase doesn’t need any justification. Be it the birth of haute couture, ateliers, fashion shows, catwalks, Paris has left no room for anybody to even claim the place it holds in the world of fashion. Paris and fashion have been married to each other now for almost 4 centuries and each year their anniversary is celebrated with much pomp and fervour.



Celebration of fashion in Paris involves a huge buzz and media coverage.

The 7-day long exuberance of the Fashion Week leaves spectators inspired and shocked with amazement. But why is it so important to visit Paris and learn about Parisian fashion?






No one can be understood without their roots.


The same is true for Paris. 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 customised 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 more skilful.


The creation of this convention to make the apparel industry more personalized took place in Paris 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.



Dior


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


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.


Louis Vuitton


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


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.


Givenchy


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.




Conclusion


A host of designers consider Paris as a source of inspiration.

No matter which street you go, Paris will surprise you with something different.


A good Paris trip is never complete without a hearty shopping spree, while it is on you whether to explore the chic boutiques or to head out to the flea markets, consider yourself in a treasure trove of designs, as the collection here will not let your hands stop.




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