Touring The Classic Fashion Heritage of Paris

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Paris is widely regarded as the fashion capital of the world– not surprising since fashion history really began in France with Rose Bertin (the dressmaker to Marie Antoinette) who had a tremendous influence on Parisian style in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Following this, Charles Frederick Worth became the first designer to have his label sewn into his creations. France remains synonymous with high-end fashion, and you can still travel today to some of the areas where fashion museums and stylish designer boutiques have become tourist attractions in their own right. The language of fashion is also bound up with French, from 'chic' to describe the classy, elegant style associated with French fashion to the notion of high-end design that is dubbed 'haute couture'. And of course the interchangeable 'à la mode' and 'vogue'.

Fashion week (in March 2015) is naturally a big draw for visitors to Paris who flock to the capital to stay in Paris hotels and ogle the latest runway trends, and you can go to the Palais Galliera (the Museum of Fashion) anytime that suits to see the excellent exhibits. It’s a stone’s throw from some of the best designer boutiques in the city and well worth the trip. If you’re looking to buy stylish clothes and accessories, why not visit the Champs Elysées and the Boulevard Haussmann? They're the best known of the top shopping places in Paris, along with Avenue Montaigne, Rue Saint Honoré and, of course, Boulevard Saint Michel and Saint Germain. 

Top Fashion Designers
At the top of the hierarchy of French designers are names such as Coco Chanel, who designed for stars of the screen including Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Louis Vuitton, whose handbags were favourites of Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren; Hermes, providing handbags worn by royalty as well as Grace Kelly and Jane Birkin; Givenchy, father of the ‘little black dress’ and loved by film actresses, including Audrey Hepburn; and Christian Dior who created the voluptuous ‘new look’ championing curvaceous bodies and still enjoyed by contemporary celebrities including Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence.

French Connections
While Paris might be regarded as the hub of fashion in France, other cities are not left out in the cold, with significant designer communities also selling their couture ideas in the luxury shopping districts of Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Strasbourg and Toulouse. Given that capital cities tend to be the most expensive in any country, a weekend in Lyon may offer really good value if you are looking for a new outfit or a special fashion item. Remember this has been the silk capital of the world since the seventeenth century and is second only to Paris when it comes to luxury goods. Visit the Presqu’île district and the Rue de la République for high-end items, or La Croix-Rousse for exquisite silk and the best of the newcomer fashion designers. The French fashion star shows no sign of waning, and continues to go from strength to strength. So grab your chance for a special fashion-oriented visit and indulge in a little retail therapy, or thérapie par le shopping, as they say en France. 

Have you ever visited Paris?

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1 comment

  1. this makes me want to go to Paris so bad! I'd love to visit the designer shops and things, I bet its all so amazing x