Paris FashionFashion Infomation

Paris FashionFashion InfomationPaul Poiret was the most influential shion designer of the early twentieth century, to be followed in the s by Gabrielle Coco Chanel, whose dresses redefined elegance as understatement. Chanel had many competitors, however, including Madeleine Vionnet, Jeanne Lanvin, and Elsa Schiaparelli. In the years between the two wars designers mostly women created s that were feminine and bodyconscious, and imitated all over the world.

Dior and his contemporaries, such as Jacques Fath and Hubert de Givenchy, represented a new development in the shion business. Unlike many of the women designers of the betweenthewars years, whose companies were often very small, these male designers and a few women, most noly Chanel were at the helm of large, wellfunded corporations, equipped to compete in a new climate of international trade and finance. In addition to their couture collections, they also licensed their names to American manucturers who produced less expensive lines and ancillary products.

Paris has been the shion capital of the Western world from the seventeenth century to the twentyfirst century, although other cities, such as New York, London, and Milan, also have become important centers of shion. The clothes we wear today owe a great deal to Paris, even if they were designed and almost certainly manuctured elsewhere in the world.

Milbank, Caroline Rennolds.Couture The Great Designers.New York Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, .

The globalization of ile and garment manucturing is changing the economics of the entire shion system, but the couture, which really exists only in Paris, retains its prestige and helps to drive an array of luxury goods from perfume to handbags and readytowear lines. Continuing a tradition eslished many years ago by the Englishman Charles Frederick Worth and the Italian Elsa Schiaparelli, many of the most influential designers in Paris such as Karl Lagerfeld and John Galliano are not French. But whatever their country of origin, these designers live and work in Paris. Fashion journalists today have become accustomed to an exhausting round of shion shows in New York, Milan, Paris, and London. Even though another city might become paramount during some seasons, Paris remains generally acknowledged as the most important shion city.

Similarly, in the s, houses such as Dior and Givenchy imported designers from London. John Galliano almost singlehandedly transformed Dior with his wild yet commercially successful s. Alexander McQueen, on the other hand, left Givenchy to eslish his own company backed by Gucci. Significantly, however, McQueen almost always chose to show his collections in Paris, because the Paris shion shows attracted more journalists than the shows in New York or London. After Saint Laurent retired, the American Tom Ford briefly took artistic control at the mous French house, while also maintaining control at the Italian shion company Gucci. A host of Belgian designers also showed in Paris, and even many Italian designers, such as Versace and Valentino, moved back and forth between Milan or Rome and Paris. As shion becomes ever more international, the Paris shows now include increasing numbers of designers from countries as erse as Brazil and Korea.

Worth was the first of many designers who took Paris shion in the direction of the haute couture, the pinnacle of custom dress. But shion also evolved simultaneously toward the production ofconfection, readymade dresses, and other garments made for sale in the innovative department stores where items were attractively ed and clearly marked with fixed prices. In these stores, shopping became a form of recreation that made affordable versions of shionable dress available to a broad segment of the citys population. By the late nineteenth century, the garment industry, embracing both couture andconfection, and including ancillary activities such as distribution, merchandising, journalism, and illustration, was one of Pariss most important industries, employing tens of thousands of workers and a major contribution to the French national economy. This was recognized in French government backing for efforts to publicize Paris shions in world markets; for example, shion was prominently featured in numerous international exhibitions held in Paris.

The new reign of Paris did not last long, however. In the early s the Youthquake shions of Carnaby Street turned all eyes on London. Selftaught English designers such as Mary Quant popularized the miniskirt and other mod s. Since the French lacked a youth culture comparable to that of England and America, French couturiers, such as Andr Courrges, had to develop a stylistic equivalent. At first, the future served as a metaphor for youth, in the spaceage s of Courrges and Pierre Cardin. Ultimately, however, the most successful designer to emerge in Paris was the young Yves Saint Laurent, who had formerly worked for Dior.

By the eighteenth century, wealthy foreigners were traveling to Paris to have their clothes made, or they employed seamstresses and tailors to copy the latest Paris shions which were described in the newss of the day, exclaiming all the while at how quickly the shions changed, how expensive everything was, and how outr the shions had become. These intertwined themes eagerness to follow the latest Paris shions, and outrage over their extravagance, expense, and immoralitywere to characterize foreigners attitudes toward Paris shion for centuries. Meanwhile, the highquality tailoring of London where mens dress was increasingly based on country and sporting clothing, rather than on Frenchified court shions began to make its influence felt on the continent, and men of shion throughout the Western world began to dress in English .

See alsoHaute Couture;Italian FashionLondon Fashion; New Look.

World War II and the German occupation of Paris dealt a severe blow to Pariss shion leadership. Many couture houses shut down for the duration of the war. Those that remained in business found both materials and customers in short supply. Even worse, the vital American market threatened to go its own way, as sportswear designers such as Claire McCardell made a virtue of the American Look during this hiatus in Parisian shion leadership. With the end of the war, the reeslishment of the shion industry was one of the top priorities of the new French government. With Christian Dior and the creation of the New Look in , Paris found its champion of reasserted shion leadership.

New techniques contributed to the rapid dissemination of Paris shions throughout the world. Whereas in the nineteenth century clients were shown sample dresses and fitted for their own garments in the of couturiers showrooms, by the early twentieth century the shion show, with its nowmiliar parade of models wearing the seasons new outfits, had become the standard means by which designers introduced their new collections. News of the latest shions was quickly relayed to magazines and newss abroad, and copyists worked overtime to sketch the new designs for production in less expensive readytowear versions. Fashion photography, which by the end of the s had decisively displaced shion illustration as the preferred means of representing shion in editorial and advertising copy, also gave rapid publicity to new designs.

Prior to the rise of the modern nationstate shions were geographically dispersed, with loci in Florence and other powerful Italian citystates as well as at the courts of Burgundy and Spain. But France emerged from the end of the Thirty Years War, in , as by r the largest, richest, and most powerful state in Europe, and the rulers of Francemost noly Louis XIV reigned understood that shion was a potent weapon in eslishing Frances cultural preeminence. Louis XIV exercised control over his aristocrats by requiring that all who were in attendance at his new court at Versailles be dressed in appropriate shions. At the same time the kings chief minister, JeanBaptiste Colbert, recognized the growing economic importance of iles and clothing and harnessed the power of the state to Frances shion leadership.

Saint Laurent was attuned to influences coming from the street and from popular culture. Over the next decade, he introduced a number of radical s, including trouser suits for women, popart dresses, sari jackets, pea coats, and other s derived from vernacular clothing, and, perhaps most importantly, ethnic s, which drew on the antishion sensibility of the hippies. Saint Laurent also recognized that many of the women who most appreciated his clothes were too young and not rich enough to buy couture, so he also launched a readytowear line called Rive Gauche Left Bank. At the same time, however, he reinvigorated the French couture at a time when it seemed to many to be increasingly irrelevant. The s also witnessed the flourishing of ParisVogue, which published controversial shion photographs by Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton.

Nevertheless, both New York and Milan became increasingly important centers of shion during the s. French shion was regarded as creative and prestigious, but many international consumers preferred the luxurious sportswear created by Italian designers such as Giorgio Armani and the minimalist s associated with Americans such as Halston. Meanwhile, new subcultural snoly punkdeveloped in London, where Vivienne Westwood dressed bands like the Sex Pistols in deliberately aggressive s. Paris began to seem a little oldshioned.

The leadership of Paris in womens shions accelerated during the nineteenth century, with the rise of what became known as the haute couture. It was not merely that the arts of fine sewing, cutting, and the myriad other techniques necessary for the production of fine garments flourished in Paris. The structure of the industry also evolved, as dress moved from being a smallscale craft to a big business. Prior to the middle of the nineteenth century there were no shion designers, as such. Dressmakers, assisted by specialized skilled workers, collaborated with their clients to produce garments in the latest s which were widely publicized in the burgeoning shion press. The first true couturier was the Englishman Charles Frederick Worth, a dynamic and enterprising man whose skills at clothing design and dress were matched by his skills for merchandising and selfpromotion. He portrayed himself as an artist and an arbiter of taste, whose function was to understand what his clients should wear and to dress them accordinglya r cry from the old system under which dressmakers basically executed their customers orders. Meanwhile, the new Paris of grand boulevards shone even more brightly as the setting for shionable .

Yet Paris came to the forefront again in the s and s, both because of the revival of mous French brands, and because designers from around the world chose to show their collections in Paris. The house of Chanel, which had been in the doldrums even before Chanel herself died in , became shionable again in , when the owners hired the Germanborn designer Karl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld irreverently revised Chanels iconic s, exaggerating details and introducing new materials, such as denim and chiffon, to a house long associated with proper tweed suits. Simultaneously, Paris witnessed the invasion of avantgarde Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, who launched a radically new , featuring overd, asymmetrical, black garments, which were enthusiastically adopted by an influential minority of men and women, mostly associated with the arts. Christian Lacroix launched a new couture house in , showing pouf skirts inspired by Westwoods minicrinis.

Steele, Valerie.Paris Fashion A Cultural History.nd ed. Oxford Berg, .

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