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Thursday, July 23, 2015

To Paris, with Love: The Global Impact of Paris Fashion

Paris is special to me because it's the birthplace of couture and fashion in general. The fashion that comes from Paris, especially haute couture, legitimizes all fashion everywhere else. If it weren't for high fashion there would be no benchmark in which to measure fashion in other cities and at other price points. Paris is important because of its history and traditions, its simplicity, and its commitment to the art and craftsmanship of design.

“Paris is paramount for fashion,always was – always will be.” – Manolo Blahnik

In Paris, fashion comes down to design simple as that. No gimmicks, minimal discounts, Parisian designers and their customers are interested in how well the product is made, and how good it makes you feel when wearing it. The intimacy that Paris has with the fashion industry resonates in the clothes and in the perception of the fashion brands that are the pillars of French fashion; Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, YSL, etc. When you walk into these brands’ stores the product is very well edited, the staff is incredibly knowledgeable, and the experience is leisurely. The highest levels of fashion, which is the Haute Couture designers, design their clothes in order to tell a story, and that story is usually one of fantasy, travel, and beauty. The idea is that the story of your ambitions, desires, beliefs, and personality can be told through your clothes every day and the higher you go in the fashion chain the more detailed the reflection is, and the fashion world of Paris gets that.

History and Traditions

Haute Couture is a level of fashion that the Parisian designers hold dear and the level of artisanship and history that is involved in every couture garment is what makes it special and unique. Paris stands out because when the rest of the industry is looking for ways to cheapen their brands and create value items at low prices many of the top designers in Paris are looking for ways to become more exclusive and luxurious. Designers such as Viktor and Rolf and Jean Paul Gaultier have discontinued their ready to wear collections specifically in order to not lose sight of the heart of their business, which is couture.

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.”- Thomas Jefferson


Designers in Paris keep their collections very simple and easy to understand. Meaning when I see a show there is a clear, cohesive message and it’s easy to understand the art of the clothes as well as the functionality. When I think of Chanel, Lanvin, Dior, etc. even when they do elaborate shows the clothes are the focus and it’s easy to see what the brand stands for. When looking at garments from Parisian designers it's a different feel because every piece will be a statement or investment piece for the consumer. The clothes are designed to have a long lifespan with the consumer, which is why the designs are simple yet detailed in their construction.

“ I don't do fashion, I am fashion.” – Coco Chanel

Art and Craftsmanship

In Paris, fashion as a trade is engrained in he city's history. The people who founded the fashion companies we know today were milliner, seamstresses, tailors and leather craftsman their talent comes from their ability to actually construct the garment not just present ideas. The result of the garments created because of the designer’s background is much more detailed and has consumer functionality in mind. In every industry there needs to be a balance of ideas and execution and Paris provides authenticity, craftsmanship, and a history of fashion that allows for the execution of grand ideas while keeping the integrity of the designs.

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