Friday, April 1, 2011

Top 30: Paris

This exploration of fashion and art may not even be possible without the city of Paris. From the universal exhibitions to art nouveau to the birth of the federation of couture, Paris has been the site of fashion meeting art. Above Paris fashion week by Jak & Jil, below a corset shop by Atget and Gazette du Bon Ton by Barbier.

To some extent Paris is a myth that recalls the ultimate moment of modernity. In this regard, Benjamin's text, Paris: Capital of the 19th Century, could not be more accurate. The legacy of this capital is a sense of excellence in construction. If Paris was the capital of industry, it embodies the highest dedication to production, evident in its regard for luxe.

The creativity of the Surrealists that influenced Schiaprelli and Marie-Laure de Noailles, was a freedom of forms that is at the heart of fashion. That freedom is combined with a willing restraint, the unexplainable chic.

Mark Shaw, Suzanne Luling, directrice of Dior in Paris, 1960

What was so amazing about Paris in the 20th century is that it continued to live out the theater of couture when it was no longer necessary. The limited number of clients did not stop designers from showcasing dreams. Above Lagerfeld for Chanel and below Galliano for Dior.

Paris was also given new life by designers who treat their creation like art. These are mostly designers from outside of Paris who choose to show there because of the respect that is given to creation. Above Margiela and below Wantanabe.

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