Art & Culture

Paris – the cradle of Haute Couture

The first shows in the format of Weeks of high fashion were held in 1973 in the French capital. And since that time they became a leader in determining the most progressive and trendy tendencies.

We have to note that the fashion «Haute Couture» per se differs from “Pret-a-Porter” that does not dictate us, how and what to wear, just being the quintessence of mental images of couture and stylists. It reflects peculiarities of progress of the modern society and shows the human role in it. That is why in the days of haute couture we can meet known cultural figures, all the world’s beaumonde is rushing to Paris.

It is important to underline that Paris got status of the cradle of world high fashion not by accident: at various times Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent had worked here. They were the pioneers of fashion in its “pure form” – fashion like the art.

So, in 1928, Gabrielle Chanel decided not only to make skirts shorter (now they only cover the knees slightly), but also to make the English style the standard of femininity and elegance. Thus, in its collections the main role goes to tweed, what marked the birth of costume in the “style of Chanel”. Moreover, Coco makes fashionable unused before combinations: she offered to wear coarse sweaters with luxurious gems, and expensive costumes – with metal costume jewellery and handbags “over shoulder”.

Thus, Chanel has created a whole new world for women – with pant suits, short dresses, nonclassical combinations; what, however, took some time to become a part of hearts and minds. For example, if in 1932 the police chief tried to fine a freedom-loving woman and a brilliant actress Marlene Dietrich for walking around Paris in the pants. But already during the Second World War this traditional male attribute of clothing for women not only shocked, it was the only possible option for convenient working uniforms for serve on the home front.

After the war the fashion, as well as society, wanted (and has already been ready) to change. And the changes came in 1946 with the first bikini swimsuits, and in 1947 with Christian Dior appearance in the fashion world. In his book on the fashion he spoke about his work: “We had a war, uniforms, passed labor service for women with shoulders of boxers. Now is a new time! In my sketch women are like flowers: with soft shoulders, rounded lines of bust, slender waists and wide, like flowers buds, skirts”.  The style of «New Look» by Dior captivated not only Europe, but America.

However, fashion of the 50’s was created not only by Dior. This “golden” for “Haute Couture” period was marked by the appearance on the fashion scene such masters as excellent talented experimenters and innovators Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint-Laurent. It’s notable that Laurent replaced Dior in 1957, and established his own fashion studio “Yves Saint Laurent”.

Thanks to all of these we got the high fashion and the legendary Weeks in Paris. The next decades – 60-70-80-90-00 – brought its own heroes: Italians (Gucci, Versace, Valentino) and Japanese (Kenzo Takada, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake) came the fashion scene. From time to time the leaders are exaggerated minimalistic or carnival highlighted trends. But they are all equally apply to courage, creativity and ability to identify the main things in outside world, the history of haute couture weeks in Paris and its heroes.