Did you know that some of the world's most renowned fashion designers like Cartier, Chanel, Hermes, Dior, Balmain, YSL, Chloe, and Celine all started in France? French designers have been influential in dominating the fashion world.
When you think of France, you probably think of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, and then FASHION! France, but more specifically, Paris, is the hub of the fashion industry, likely the fashion capital. But why is that so?
Fashion in Paris dates all the way back to the 15th century. Since then, the fashion industry has become the lifeblood of the city. Paris has some of the most elegant boutiques. The Avenue des Champs-Elysees, New York City's 5th Avenue equivalent, is packed with hundreds of designer shops and fashion houses.
Let's go back centuries in time to the late 1700s. This time, coined the "Marie-Antoinette Era," was the period when she reigned as queen over France. She is most famous for her line "let them eat cake," which refers to the insensitivity she showed her French subjects. During this time, France was on the decline. And while her subjects were heavily suffering, Marie Antoinette was doing just fine.
In fact, she was doing more than just fine; she was thriving. This can be represented by her lavish and exuberant fashion choices shown below. Look at the details of these two dresses. Hand-made, these dresses probably took an incredibly long time to produce.
Luxury fashion's goal is to portray extravagance and wealth. To do so, it must have the frills, the layers, the highest quality materials, and the finest embroidery detailing. One can argue that Marie Antoinette's appointed Minister of fashion was the first true fashion designer!
The French ultimately rebelled against everything Marie Antoinette stood for; luxury, wealth, and inequality in the French Revolution. France has faced many other challenges over the centuries, yet, France has remained a hub for luxurious, over-the-top fashion no matter the circumstance.
Haute Couture is Born
By the time the mid-1800s rolled around, there was a new surge in the French fashion world. Local consumption became easier and exportation more common. The fashion remained luxurious, but it had a new purpose to serve. It now had to satisfy the needs of the mass media and pop culture- no easy feat.
Paris Fashion Week
Starting in 1973, every year, at the onset of the season, the Federation De La Haute Couture Et De La Mode organizes The Paris Fashion Week. Designers can showcase their upcoming haute couture/ ready-to-wear styles. This whole event is a staple of French fashion. In fact, some famous brands like Chanel and Dior specifically host their fashion shows at venues with rich French history.
While the first legitimate fashion week took place in NY, Paris has been having impromptu fashion showings dating back to the 1800s. NY, London, Milan, and of course, Paris are all part of the big 4 global fashion shows.
French fashion is luxurious, it's over the top, and it's certainly extravagant. And Fashion Week in Paris is a culmination of all of the above.
Our Favorite French Designers:
The French fashion style is the epitome of luxury and sophistication. Don't fret because you can still shop all of your favorite French fashion designers and save up to 78%. Everyone wins when you don't have to pay retail!