After New York, London, Madrid and Milano now is the turn of Paris. The Fashion Week is arriving to the capital french.
WHY IS PARIS THE FASHION CAPITAL?
Haute Couture began in the 18th century, but the French had been looked to with admiration or disdain in their dress sense well before that. In the 16th century, Anne Boleyn was famous for wearing a French-style hood, which showed her hair and had a generally provocative style. Even then, the French were famous for their liberal attitude towards sexuality.
In the 18th century, couturier Rose Bertin was named the Minister for Fashion and the position was still retained in the Napoleonic era. Initially, it was the rich and powerful telling the designers what they wanted to wear in clothes, but in the 19th century, this changed. It was, surprisingly, an Englishman working in Paris who became the father of modern Haute Couture when Charles Worth put his name on his clothing labels. He went a step further, creating designs based on his own ideas and displaying them on live models so that clients could approve or disapprove. The novelty was a success and designers then began to dictate what was fashionable.
From then on, it was understood that any designer who wanted to be a success had to be in Paris and become part of a couture house or form their own. Paris was the home of fashion shows and all the fashion magazines were either based in or looked to Paris for their information. For women throughout the Western world, Paris was the be all and end all of clothes.
London, New York and Milan can all lay claim to some fashion influence. Especially during World War II, New York and London made inroads while Paris was occupied by Germany. But when the war was over, designers returned to Paris and couture reigned again. Chanel was still popular, but Dior became one of the most influential designers of the mid-century. Joined by Yves Saint Laurent and other prominent designers, Paris cemented its hold on style.
Famed fashion designer Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France. With her trademark suits and little black dresses, Coco Chanel created timeless designs that are still popular today. She herself became a much revered style icon known for her simple yet sophisticated outfits paired with great accessories, such as several strands of pearls. As Chanel once said,“luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”
Around the age of 20, Chanel became involved with Etienne Balsan who offered to help her start a millinery business in Paris. She soon left him for one of his even wealthier friends, Arthur “Boy” Capel. Both men were instrumental in Chanel’s first fashion venture.
Opening her first shop on Paris’s Rue Cambon in 1910, Chanel started out selling hats. She later added stores in Deauville and Biarritz and began making clothes. Her first taste of clothing success came from a dress she fashioned out of an old jersey on a chilly day. In response to the many people who asked about where she got the dress, she offered to make one for them. “My fortune is built on that old jersey that I’d put on because it was cold in Deauville,” she once told author Paul Morand.