The most famous event of the fashion calendar is an exclusive affair of luxury and frivolity.
A yearly occasion for locals and visitors alike, here are 5 fun facts you may not known about Paris’ spectacle of excess.
The father of haute couture, Charles Frederick Worth may have made his name in Paris, but he was actually English. After moving to Paris in 1846, Worth would go on to pioneer the presentation of his original designs, by exhibiting them on live women, creating the role of a model in 1858.
However, it was during World War II, when American designers were unable to travel to Paris, that the first fashion week took place in New York, in 1943. Concerned at New York’s pervasive influence on fashion, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in France set the official rules for Paris fashion exhibitions at the end of the war in 1945.
1973 saw the introduction of the first official Paris Fashion Week and the formation of the Fédération Française de la Couture. The event opened with a unique ‘fight’ between New York and Paris. The Battle of Versailles was a sartorial fashion-off to raise money to restore the Palace; pitting five unknown American designers against Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Cardin, Ungaro and Givenchy. Despite the French being the heavy favourites, the Americans were widely thought of as the winners.
Paris fashion week may sound like it’s a once yearly affair but it’s actually a biannual event. Falling in February and again in September, the two dates are for the purpose of showcasing seasonal collections. The dates of the showcases are chosen each year by the French Fashion Federation
Paris might be home to the most famous of all fashion weeks, but it’s actually part of a global, month long fashion showcase. Paris and New York were joined by Milan in 1975 and London in 1984, becoming the ‘big 4’. As the forerunner, New York begins the month, followed by Madrid, London and finally finishing in Paris. The events then set the fashion agenda for the coming months.
While the furore around the event may give the impression any and everyone is attending, Paris fashion week is invite only. The front rows are made up of the most important designers, buyers and editors. There is also plenty of space for celebrity influencers too. The rest of the audience are all members of the fashion industry. However, there are many events that members of the public can attend, as part of the week-long activities.
Visiting Paris for fashion week? Our hostel is in the heart of the historic neighbourhood of Montmartre and only a short metro ride from the events.
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