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French fashion – culture and style

October 10, 2016

France is arguably one of the most prominent countries for fashion design. Alongside its European counterparts French fashion has always been known for cultured and tasteful style. With the recent spring/summer season finale at Paris fashion week, we continue to see how this innovative country holds its own in the fashion stakes. French fashion has been an important export for the country since the 15th century. It still flourishes in the industry as a centre for chic, luxury style and is home to some of the most influential fashion designers in modern design. Premier brands include Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent and Chloe.

French fashion history

Fashion flourished throughout French history with particular movements highlighting significant developments in design. The French monarch favoured elaborate fashion, which widely showcased opulence and class. Each century depicted the extravagance and reputation of French style. As fashion neared the end of the 19th century, the many great couture houses blossomed. It’s standing in the luxury market was gaining traction and during the early 20th century, several famous couturiers were founded in Paris.

French fashion from 1668-1760

French fashion from 1668-1760

 

There are many notable examples of high society French fashion in several museums around the world. The importance of design and the authority of French style heavily influenced other countries in fashion design. It’s opulent and exquisite chic look still holds in modern collections. Common terms from France’s fashion were born from French words and are still used widely today. For example ‘haute couture’ and ‘pret-a-porter’ are well-known fashion terms worldwide.

French fashion illustration from 1848-1864

French fashion from 1848-1864

 

After the war, fashion design heated up with well-known designers returning to Paris to continue their work. The change in attitude to fashion in france had called for something a little different than just high fashion couture. Yves Saint Laurent was one of the first designers to appeal to the mass audience. This iconic designer produced one of the first ‘pret-a-porter’ (ready to wear) collections and expanded into mass manufacturing. Other designers followed suit with increasingly trend led design, yet continued to work the beautiful French style into collections.

French flappers

French flappers

Influence of French fashion design

Known as the country of luxury, fashion and style, Paris sits amongst some of best fashion capitals in the world. Beautifully contrasted by other locations in the ‘Big Four’ in fashion, New York, London and Milan, it holds a special place in the fashion industry. Paris is well regarded within the design sector and many aspiring talents travel to the country in order to flourish as a fashion designer.

Although it has some strong competition with other fashion cities, Paris has been home to several designers looking to make their mark on the industry. For example many made there careers in the French fashion houses, British designer John Galliano at Dior, German designer Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and American designer Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton to name a few. Their successful careers catapulted these designers into the limelight showcasing not only their talents but also the love and passion for French style.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel

Paris fashion capital

The capital of France is home to some of the biggest names in fashion with major brands residing in Paris from Dior, Lacroix and Chanel. Paris has long been a symbol of French fashion and culture and also hosts one of the most popular fashion events during fashion week. There are several key shopping areas in the city namely the Avenue des Champs-Elysees that boast several high end fashion boutiques and is headquarters to many of Paris’ fashion brands. The Golden Triangle is another significant shopping area and encompasses the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Avenue Montaigne and the Avenue Marceau. You’ll find a range of popular couture boutiques here including Givenchy, Vuitton, Dior and Hermes.

Chanel - french fashion house

Parisian style

The style and looks of Parisians has long been admired throughout the world. This statement looks encompasses a timeless, well-cut and classic style. Parisian women have mastered the art of a perfectly fitted ensemble and they pull it off with ease. The look also exudes a feminine feel without being overtly sexy.   The attention to detail is commendable with accessories complementing a seamless and sophisticated style. Many Parisians also buy clothing that will last, not something that is necessarily a bargain but something that adds value to their wardrobe. Less is more with focus on an effortless wardrobe that gives them a beautiful choice in fashion.

French style

French style

The power of Paris

The beauty of design in Paris fashion is that little has changed for several years. For that reason, French fashion has retained the charm of its design origins. One of the most influential designers Coco Chanel brought couture back into the limelight following the war and France reigned supreme again in luxury fashion. French fashion designers incorporate trends and innovative design into collections yet beautifully capture French charm and culture into every piece.

 

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