The city of lights, Paris, is hailed for the eternal symbol of love, the Eiffel tower. However, we also identify it as the capital of haute couture, noted fashion studios, celebrated designers, and of course, the Paris Fashion Week, the much-awaited biannual event, and a grand rendezvous for fashion connoisseurs.
From runway fashion to rivalries and the magnificent feasts to the eyes of all fashion lovers, the Paris Fashion week is like a semiannual reminder of the magnetism of Paris in the world of fashion.
So, how about uncovering some interesting facts about this event that is all about great couturiers, noted ateliers, and everything posh?
Here, we have rounded up some cool facts about the Paris Fashion Week that you might not know. Enjoy!
Although fashion shows or Défilés de mode, as they say, have existed for more than 170 years. In fact, the very concept of the catwalk originated in the Paris Fashion Week, somewhat in the 70s. Since then, it has become a yardstick.
In the 18th century, fashion shows acted as a platform for business exchange between fashion designers and clients. And they exhibited the dresses on mannequins instead of human models. Therefore, it was pretty tough for the clients to understand how the dresses would look on humans. From there came the idea of showing the pieces on real women in the 1850s. And none other than Charles Frederick Worth, the father of Haute Couture, was the brain father.
The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is the regulating body that sets the standards for fashion houses. It also determines which are the deserving candidates for being called the genuine haute couture houses.
According to the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, a fashion studio should exhibit a collection of a minimum of 35 outfits per season, including evening and daytime wear. This mandate was made 'live' in 1945. It floored the way for the initial idea of organizing an event (the fashion week) around fashion, showcasing famous haute couture studios.
November 28, 1973, became that red-letter day in the fashion calendar when the Paris Fashion Week happened for the first time. And it was overseen by Eleanor Lambert, the founder of New York Fashion Week.
This exhibition showcased the collections from renowned haute couture houses, ready-to-wear (prêt-à-porter) pieces, and menswear for the first time in Paris. The first Paris Fashion Week was a fundraiser event held at the Palace of Versailles, one of the relics of French history. It was dedicated to cover the renovation cost of the royal house. The total cost (renovation) estimated was nearly $60 million.
The very first Paris Fashion Week witnessed a mega American and French fashion rivalry in the fashion world. It showcased some of the most esteemed designers bookmarked in the pages of fashion chronicles. The runway rivalries were between five prestigious American designers - Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows, Anne Klein, and Halston and five French artists - Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro, and Pierre Cardin. The competition was fierce, indeed.
The event managed to garner more than 700 people. Needless to mention but list also featured celebs including Elizabeth Taylor, Josephine Baker, and Liza Minelli.
It was the runway of the Paris Fashion Week where history was made time and again. The American designers broke the stereotype by casting Black models, an unusual sight of that time. Yes, out of the 36 models they have, 11 were black. This gesture stole the show and fascinated the crowd like nothing else.
Before 1984, fashion shows were private affairs until Thierry Mugler, a famous French fashion designer, made it open to the public. The open-to-public fashion show was held at the Le Zénith stadium and witnessed a footfall of more than 6,000 people.
The Paris Fashion Week fashion shows take place in various historical monuments with magnificent settings in the backdrop. Most of the time, fashion houses have dedicated venues ready to host their shows every year. Here is a glimpse - Le Grand Palais for Chanel, Louvre for Louis Vuitton, Le Musée Rodin for Dior, and the Eiffel Tower for Saint Laurent's dazzling shows.
The birthplace of haute couture!
While taking the world of fashion to a completely next level, the Paris Fashion Week has left a lasting footprint on the history of fashion. This fashion parade is the epitome of class, rivalry, breaking norms, and everything in between and is known for its extravagance and fierce competition between top-notch haute couture brands.