Who can refuse the fact France is the fashion capital of the world?
Since 1800’s – the times when ordinary Englishman-in-Paris Charles Frederick Worth created his ‘Haute Couture’ concept and started dictating what was fashionable – it’s become obvious that any designer who wants to be successful has to live and work in Paris.
Indeed, the most influential designers like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Hubert de Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, who revolutionized the way people dressed and shaped the fashion industry of our days, majorly come from France. The situation hasn’t changed dramatically since last two centuries: Paris is still home to the headquarters of Rochas, Chanel, Balenciaga, Hermès and Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Chloe, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Céline and lots of other companies.
Besides everything listed above, there are lots of other reasons to consider France as the real fashion capital of the world:
Paris Fashion Week: Paris traditionally is the final city to host yearly fashion week marathon (after Milan, London, and New York). It’s Paris who dictates what the world will be wearing during the upcoming season.
Stylish People: Besides best world’s designers, France also is a motherland for some of the most stylish people on the planet like Jeanne Moreau, Brigitte Bardot, Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve.
Golden Triangle: Paris is also famous for its shopping district – the area between the Avenue Marceau, Champs-Elysees, and Avenue Montaigne – stuffed with top world’s design houses.
Fashion Inventions: The most significant fashion inventions of all time also come from France. For example, bikini appeared thanks to French automobile engineer Louis Réard and fashion designer Jacques Heim, and the timeless little black dress was invented in Paris by Coco Chanel.
Fashion Trade Union: The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, created in 1973, is also situated in Paris – the undeniable fashion capital of the world.
First Fashion Publication: Yes, the first fashion magazine Le Mercure Galant was also represented in France in 1672. Soon, Louis XIV demanded that the magazine was published strictly once a month – thus the style and fashion tendencies were spread throughout the country and, consequently, the whole world.
How Was France Known?
However, it’s unfair to say that the French sense of style was first noticed in the 1850’s when the first clothing brand was established and the term ‘couturier’ was created.
So how was France known as the world’s fashion influencer?
The Early Manifestations
If history is any guide, it all kicked off as early as the 17th century thanks to Louis XIV, the Sun King, who always wanted to be at the center of all that was beautiful in the world. He started the trend for outrageous wigs of curled hair and was wearing fantastic luxury clothes, he ordered the glorious construction of his palace in Versailles and was first to establish the Etiquette rules.
He actually was fashion and a great role model not only for the French but also for people all over the world. Yes, the Versailles’ fashion became the European standard later on.
Thanks to the Sun King, Paris’ top position in the world fashion chart was not lost even during the hard times of the French revolution.
Fashion Boom at the Turn of the Centuries
The transition from the 19th to the 20th century was the period of the French fashion industry explosion. Women got rid of their old-fashioned corsets, heavy petticoats, and opted for light flowing bias-cut dresses. Numerous key fashion houses were founded during this time, and Coco Chanel started her own fashion game.
Parisian New Look
In 1947, when the war ended and the world was still recovering from its disastrous consequences, Paris surprised the planet with another fashion breakthrough – it was Christian Dior who represented his elegant and elaborate New Look: a full skirt, a cinched in waist, and a majestic bust. Should we mention that France became the world’s fashion center stage once again?
Fashion Goes to the Masses
Despite the popularity and world recognition of French fashion, it still was too exquisite so that it wasn’t accessible to many people. Yves Saint Laurent solved this problem in 1966 by creating his ‘ready to wear’ tuxedo suits for women, which were a great success.
What Is the Fashion Capital of the World?
Yes, Milan, London, and New York do have lots of influence on the modern world of fashion, but can they boast such incredible fashion history, personalities, and invention as Paris can? Almost all French brands are timeless – so isn’t it a sign of true pure style?
No doubt, despite a growing competition between well-established fashion centers and newbies like Berlin, Barcelona, or Singapore, the Fashion still is a deep-rooted aspect of France’s culture. So, it is deservedly the only fashion capital of the world.