The fashion of Paris and the World !

I worked in luxury establishments in Paris and had the opportunity to meet some of the best in fashion especially during fashion week Paris. This will be on my black and white series, no pictures. I like to tell a bit on the fashion history of Paris. Of course, all started here you know……

When the Second Empire (Napoléon III and Eugénie) was proclaimed it foretold the demise of the small exclusive dressmaker , and the rise of haut couture or high fashion with the coming to Paris of English born Redfern and Worth and the Frenchman Doucet.

Jacques Doucet inherit a lingerie shop at 21 rue de la Paix and in 1821 turn it into a fashion house, It had a reputation for expensive gowns designing clothing for Sarah Bernhardt and Réjane. A disciple of Doucet and Worth early on was Paul Poiret who influence the world of fashion since 1909 until the interwar years, He shocked society by introducing shimmering gowns with matching turbans to be worned without corsets. Charles Frederick Worth moved from London to Paris in 1845 at age 20 and worked in a draper’s shop until he was able to open his own shop at 7 rue de la Paix, specializing in well cut clothes, One of his innovation is to use live models for the fashion shows!

Paris had an inspiration for these designers since the 19C and many streets honor them such as by the corner of Avenue Montaigne and Rue François I to the following Jeanne Paquin a dressmaker from the Rue de la Paix who designed the Directoire look, and Madeleine Vionnet famous for her bias cup crepes who opened her own house in 1912, and the Callot sisters.

Jeanne Lanvin was done by a design by Paul Iribe for the company logo in 1927 symbolized by Lanvin love for her daughter, her main source of inspiration.

Parisians women are acknowledge paragons of elegance, charm the world over, the creators always have them in mind when creating new outfits. Many inspired this movement such as Henri Becque who wrote La Parisienne, Colette wrote of the provincial women when they came to Paris in “Claudine à Paris” and in 1950 Jacques Laurent launched a literary review called “La Parisienne”. They allowed the opening of salons to show off their culture and curiosities. The most celebrated salons included those of Countess Anna de Noailles a noted storyteller and poet ; Duchess of La Rochefoucauld who received the writer Paul Valéry in the Place des Etats Unis and the Countess de Fels who wrote on her invitations, « a little tea a little conversation » Continue with the inimitable Parisienne in Léon Gozlan « Parisian Mistresses » who describe them as « She is a composite of grace and sensitivity, an inehaustible source of woman you dream about when you are sixteen, and only one you remember when you are sixty ».

The tailleur bar created by Christian Dior after the end of WWII symbolized the return to opulent, affluent living standards after the privations of Nazi occupation, These days the catwalks are largely dominated by foreigners, however, even though Parisian women are sometimes born outside Paris, they can always be identified by their impeccable knowledge of the city, their open minded, curious manner and their way of choosing what they like. A virtual laboratory for French fashion and taste, haute couture brings together people with astonishing creative talent, A fashion house can be describe itself as haute couture only if meets certain criteria relating to fittings and presenetations of collections in January and July, These collections many times were shown in my hotels even thus you will not see their names in the passarelle !

Some of them and initial location or still there are Chanel, 29-31 rue Cambon 8éme, the byword of Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, In 1983 Karl Lagersfeld took over the house, and continue the same until his recent passing.

Yves Saint Laurent 5 Avenue Marceau 8éme ; after working as assistant to Dior, YSL presented his first collection in 1962, This was in the house once inhabited by painter Forain in the Rue Spontini, Innovating women in dinner jackets, etc, Francesca Bellettini is general manager since 2013 and Anthony Vaccarello artistic director since 2016. The control is under the fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent.

Jean-Louis Scherrer first show was in a cellar in 1962, since moving to Avenue Montaigne, a house known for lavish styles. He passed away and now own by the groupe JSB International since 2011, with a new store at 111 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Christian Dior, 30 Avenue Montaigne 8éme, took fashion by storm with the New Look, Today the house is sustained by Gianfranco Férré, Now part of LVMH since 2017 led by general manager director Sidney Toledano,

Givenchy 3-5 avenue Georges V Hubert de Givenchy the gentlement of haute couture, discovered his vocation on a visit to the Pavilion of Elegance at the 1937 Universal Exhibition, He opened his own house in 1952, specializing in evening dresses and noted for pure sculpted lines, Part of LVMH since 1988.

Christian Lacroix, 26 Avenue Montaigne, a native of Arles devoted his first collection in 1987 to Provence. The couturier eventually left his house in 2009 and pursued his design business, XCLX. Sacha Walckhoff, his “right arm” from 1992 to 2009, is today the creative director at Maison Christian Lacroix.

Olivier Lapidus, 35 rue François Ier 8éme, He inherited the house from his father in 1989 as the newcomer, A tireless seeker of new materials to please refined modern women,

In the 1990’s a new wave of creative designers came on such as Daniel Hechter, Cacherel, Emmanuelle Khanh and Dorothée Bis, Paco Rabanne with gowns of aluminum and Pierre Cardin developed his ready to wear, These currents, gave rise to an avant garde which flourished in the 1980’s in the Place des Victoires,

We have Chantal Thomass 100 rue du Cherche-Midi 7éme on stocking and lace, In 1975 she relaunched the fashion for the chic underwear, including corsets made of silk.

Alaïa 7 rue de Moussy 4éme, a designer who glorified women, The gowns designed by Assedine Alaïa a proud Parisian originally from Tunisia are meant for elegant women who are confident of their seductive powers,

Thiery Mugler, 49 Rue Montaigne, designs inspired by ballerinas with whom it has worked, He has recently passed away,

Castelbajac, 6 Place St Sulpice, Jean Charles Castelbajac with his motifs of colors and unusual materials, Like the fur coat made of teddy bear materials,

Sonia Rykel, 175 Bd St Germain 6éme, creations intended to be worn exactly as the wearer wishes,

Montana, 131 rue St Denis, 1éme, Claude Montana has said wants to design clothes that people will enjoy rediscovering,

Jean Claude Gaultier, 30 rue du Faubourg St Antoine, 12éme, The moves from punk to froak coats, and stayes everything is beautiful if you think it is beautiful !

You have the extras or accessories, See Christian Louboutin’s shoes 19 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau 1éme, A Parisian designer of shoes that opens house at the Galerie Vérot-Dodat, His shoes with wooden heels decorated in gold leaf are minor masterpieces,

Elvis Pompilio,62 rue des Sts Péres 6éme, The Italian designer first went to Brussels and now has a shop in the middle of St Germain des Prés, His kirsch yet chic hats sometimes consists of objects he has picked up in the flea market !

Georges Gaspar , the undisputed leader in umbrellas, supply the most celebrated shops, boutiques theater costume, and department stores, He came from Hungary in 1931 and now his daughter Anne Marie continues at 4 Bd Jean Mermoz, Neuilly sur Seine dept 92.

Philippe Model, 33 place du Marché St Honoré 1éme, He revolutinized hat design, a lover of bright colors ; he has gone into bags, gloves, and shoes.

Marie Mercié, 56 rue Tiquetonne, 1éme, She knows how hats needs to be worn, Themes running from Viennese cakes and Zulu to Cubism.

The big department stores in Paris also took off in the Second Empire, these were the Les Magasins du Louvre, and La Belle Jardiniére have gone but surving stores have hardly changed and now include prestigious designer labels among their offering, The windows of the grand magasins are famous the world over.

You have the wonderful Au Printemps dating from 1889 between Rue du Havre, and Rue Caumartin that was built as a city within a city concept, The cupola was built in 1923 as fine example of Art Nouveau with 19 meters wide (64 feet) and 16 meters high (53 feet), This cupola was turn down in WWII,The store was designed by Paul Sedille.

Le Bon Marché 22 rue de Sévres 7éme opened in the left bank in 1852 and was the first of its type, It inspired Emile Zola novel Au Bonheur des Dames ! The dept store was designed by Gustave Eiffel, The stairway was designed by Andrée Putman.

And of course, others like BHV and my favorite Galeries Lafayette.

The Place Vendôme was for the big nice jewelers. You have the house of Cartier from 1847 23 Pl Vendôme. Mauboussin 20 Pl Vendôme established in 1827. Chaumet, 12 pl Vendôme, the imperial jeweler a collection of Nitori founder of the house of Chaumet is kept in the Hôtel Saint James which has housed the shop since 1907,he gained fame when Napoléon I made his responsible for the decorations of his coronation. Boucheron, 20 pl Vendôme gold medal at the Universal Exhibtion of 1867 turned Boucheron into the favorite jewerly house of Paris cosmopolitan high society. It has occupied premises here since 1893. Van Cleef & Arpels 22 pl Vendôme which has been here since 1906, well known for his worldwide search of precious stones.

Some beauties that rounds up these luxury goods are Christofle, 9 rue Royale 8éme founded in 1833 showing gorgeous items in deco arts, Lalique, 11 rue Royale, René Lalique was a jeweler until 1911 when he turns to design of perfum bottles which are now collector’s items, Hérmes 24 rue du Faubourg St Honoré 8éme, silk scarfs sporty and elegant styles and high quality leather designs, Louis Vuitton 54 avenue Montaigne , trunkmaker settled in Paris in 1854, One innovation was a single key that could open every piece of luggage, Baggage with its initials are recognised the world over, Baccarat 30 rue de Paradis, 10éme, The museum here contains items from 1823, It was very near around the corner of my dear late wife Martine job when I first met her and took me here back in 1990, The collection here includes the candelabra commissioned by tsar Nicholas II. Daum, 32 rue de Paradis, 10éme, small shop specialising in hand made glass first opened in Nancy in 1874.

The parfums of course, the classics. They became fashionable in the 19C when they were sprinkled in handkerchiefs and fans, then the Second Empire the women wore Guerlain’s Bouquet de l’impératrice, Guerlain house 2 place Vendôme since 1828, shalimar comes to mind, The legendary Chanel No 5 created in 1921, the most widely sold perfum in the world ! Dior, launched in 1947 Miss Dior, Hérmes with a bottle of Caléche and Amazone in a leather bottle reminder of horseriding that made Hérmes famous. And so on and on …..

The official federation of haute couture and fashion:

The Paris tourist office on luxury and haute couture in Paris:

There you go folks, a wonderful world and yes expensive but worth working for it. The sky is the limits go for it enjoy it savoir the look and be chic and famous in my eternal Paris! Hope you enjoy the post as I and do follow up ok

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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5 Comments to “The fashion of Paris and the World !”

  1. One of my neighbours ran the Couture shoes bit of Christian Dior and has some really interesting tales on a no-names basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Thanks. This was really interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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