If you mention Paris to anybody and ask what is one of the most iconic things that the famous city is known for, a great proportion will say fashion. Paris is one of the leading fashion capitals of the world, if not the greatest of all. Along with Milan, London, and New York, Paris has been at the forefront of fashion since it all started. Famous names such as Christian Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Lanvin have been setting fashion trends all over the world and they continue to get stronger even though the competition is now fierce. So which are the most famous Paris fashion houses and what is their story?
Christian Dior has been the leading light of French haute couture since WWII. It all started with a dream by Christian Dior to make it his mission in life to make women beautiful and give them a sense of belonging in a male dominated world of the 1950s. WWII was a period of austerity due to necessity, and the post war years were to say the least depressing as the world started once again to emerge from oppression.
Fashion was almost non-existent and clothing was purely functional, however in 1947 Dior changed all this with his New Look. This New Look encompassed swirling full skirts, the waists were amazingly tight, and this was accompanied with a jacket. After the gloom of WWII, Dior had created a new silhouette for women, a silhouette that was utterly feminine and glamorous. And when John Galliano became Dior’s main designer in 1996 he brought the company’s fashion line back to its roots with theatrical designs that harkened back to the famous fashion house original designs, which are world famous and simply known as the Dior style. Today Dior has a highly successful Pret a Porter range which is a more reasonably priced off-the-peg alternative to their exclusive couture ranges.
One of the oldest fashion houses in Paris has to be Lanvin, and although it somewhat faded from the spotlight in the last couple of decades, today it is enjoying a well-deserved renaissance. Stars of film and music such as Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, Beyonce, and Natalie Portman are all wearing the label and bringing Lanvin back into vogue. The company was founded by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889 who was a milliner by trade and developed into one of the world’s most innovative dressmakers.
She was famous for incorporating gold lame into her designs and famous actresses queued up to buy her lavish gowns. Stars of the Silver Screen such as Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich, and Mary Pickford. In the 1920s and 1930s Lanvin was the most famous designer in the world, and her clothes were so popular that over two hundred designs were created every season. When she died in 1946 her daughter Marguerite took the helm and was responsible for a whole new children’s range as well as continuing the outstanding haute couture line.