Last week when I talked about the Milan fashion scene, someone brought to my attention the fact that I’ve never actually talked about the Paris fashion scene. As an almost Parisian (lol), it is my moral duty to compile a fact guide with everything you need to know about the Paris fashion scene. And that’s exactly what I have for this week’s blog.
If you’re planning a trip to Paris, are excited about the upcoming Paris Fashion Week, or just a style lover, this blog is definitely for you. Moreover, if you’re into learning new things or just want to research about Parisian/French fashion, you should thank me because I just made it easier for you.
(Almost) Everything you need to know about the Paris Fashion Scene!
Paris, London, NY, Milan!
It is no news that Paris is one of the biggest and maybe first of the 4-major fashion cities of the world. Dior, Hermes, Saint Laurent, Chanel, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, the list of designer labels that the city represents today is nonexhaustive. One can map the history of fashion in Paris to 1850s when Haute Couture was formalized by designer Charles Frederick. In reality, though, fashion designing gained prominence in France from the 15th century itself. And the French owe this to the Sun King – King Louis XIV, the original chic. In fact, not just in his personal demeanor, he emphasized the importance of fashion and luxury goods for the benefit of the national economy, too.
“Fashion is to France what the gold mines of Peru are to Spain…”. – The Royal Minister of Finances, Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Led by the bourgeoisie and interests of the rich and influential, the French Fashion now had money and national interest. Soon enough, owing to its attractiveness, it found its way into all segments of society. However, the industry was fragmented until the 19th century. The finest quality of material and the savoir-faire of dress-makers in Paris, however, was enough to attract our British man Charles Fredrick who gave birth to an era of fashion labels and shows. He is read as the first fashion designer by many. This was followed by the rise of many other fashion personalities like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior… and the rest is history.
The lust for fashion in Paris picked up the pace in the 19th century. However, the first fashion publication from the city dates back to 1672; read throughout Europe, Mercure Galant was the first fashion magazine that regularly offered comments on the latest clothing styles. With time, the influence of these magazines, designers, and continued government support, the Paris fashion scene thrived. Vogue was founded 1892 and made the process even more glamorous. The post-war era fashion and the liberty of women through style were now being discussed by the means of style and Paris fashion scene perpetrated ideas of social revolutions.
Other than Coco Chanel, who revolutionized the world of fashion starting out of small hat boutique and humble beginnings, the era of YSL brought redefinition to the Parisian fashion.Yves Saint Laurent made Parisian fashion about rebellion and individuality. First with Dior and then with his own label, he never feared the resistance his ultra-modern designs received and hit all the right chords with prêt-à-porter. However, this doesn’t discount the work the work of all other designers with their own sets of stories and heritage.
So much so that even exceptional designers like Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin had to stay under YSL’s shadow. He was undoubtedly the king of the latter part of the century. He pioneered the tuxedo suit for women, seducing everyone with his androgynous style and Left Bank beatnik chic.
From the 60s to today, Paris has had many foreign designers, like Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel and Fendi, who have taken this legacy forward. The luxury goods’ industry thrives and is one of the biggest contributors to the economy. Despite the competition it sees from the rest of the world today, the cultural roots will most likely keep Paris fashion at the top for a long time.
The Faux Pas:
The street style in Paris is all about sophisticated, professional and fashionable style. Importantly, the style is not fussy. Typical outfits include nice dresses, suits, long coats, scarves, and berets. I’d strongly recommend against the sneaker and cargos approach, however, the streets of Paris have a little bit of everything. Emphasize on fitting, irrespective of your body type, be confident to accentuate it. Make sure to try interesting fashion choices in Paris, though, because you’ll feel the judgemental looks anyway.
Major Shopping Streets:
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
Rue du Commerce
If you’re looking for artsy fashion accessories, don’t hesitate in trying festive/Saturday markets, too.
That’s all about Paris fashion Scene for now. What do you think? Did you find something interesting or did I miss out something? Let me know in comments below.
Keep following ERTSY for more of my travel in style adventures. Till then, stay stylish and stay curious.