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Pierre & Vacances: La France, c’est chic!

March 5, 2010 1:17 pm
posted by Simon

French style – Couture and how Paris became the fashion capital of the world


Pierre & Vacances shares some insider’s knowledge on what’s hot and what’s not, whether it be on the slopes in Les Alps , on the French Riviera or on the red carpet in Cannes and of course, on the catwalk in Paris.

Paris is the fashion capital of the world after all, so we got to thinking about Haute Couture and how it came about that the rest of the world follows the French when it comes to style. Here’s our definitive guide to Le Chic Francais.

Paris Haute Couture – How it all began

Somewhat surprisingly, the term Haute Couture was first used to refer to the work of a Brit. Charles Frederick Worth, a dressmaker in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century, is credited as the first designer to put his labels into clothing.


He was revolutionary in displaying model dresses at fashion shows (held four times a year), rather than the standard practice of letting the customer dictate the design.

A potted timeline of Haut Couture

If you’re put on the spot when it comes to French fashion, here’s all you need to know to bluff your way in the history of couture:

· As far back as the 18th Century fashions of the French court at Versailles are mimicked across Europe.

· 1858 Lincolnshire born Charles Worth opens Worth and Bobergh in Paris and quickly becomes the world’s first fashion designer

· 1868 Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne is founded (Now part of today’s French Federation of Fashion and of Ready-to-Wear of Couturiers and Fashion Designers)

· 1892 Vogue founded by Arthur Baldwin Turnure. In June 1920 the first French edition of Vogue is issued

· 1895 Callot Soeurs fashion house opens, operated by four sisters. Fast forward to the 1920s and they’ve become one of the leading fashion houses in Paris

· 1913 Coco Chanel opens her first shop


· 1947 Christian Dior presents his first collection

· 1960s In the spirit of the decade, a group of young designers who trained under men like Dior leave the established couture houses to open their own establishments. One of the most successful of these young designers is Yves Saint Laurent

· 1973 Paris Fashion Week is launched

· 1976 Jean-Paul Gaultier releases his first collection, tres bon!

The major Paris fashion houses

· There are ten official couture fashion houses, including household names like Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier. Other lesser known members include Yves-Saint-Laurent-disciple, Dominique Sirop. Sirop has made his mark with royalty, the likes of Queen Rania of Jordan, Queen Sonja of Norway and of course, Joan Collins.

· Dior gained his name post World War II when he was credited with re-establishing Paris as the fashion capital of the world. The latest collection, spearheaded by John Galliano, was the talk of the spring couture show in Paris in January, a striking equestrian meets Bride of Frankenstein creation.

Watch the clip above: Hilary Alexander reviews John Galliano’s equestrian themed show for Christian Dior.

· Chanel, by Coco Chanel, is widely recognised as one of the most chic fashion houses. Marilyn Monroe, Nicole Kidman and Audrey Tautou have aligned themselves with the perfume. Audrey has of course most recently graced our screens as Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel herself in the film Coco Before Chanel.

What’s hot now on the Paris fashion scene?


The word on the street is that anything OTT, glam, elegant, flowing and colourful should fit the bill (but perhaps not on the ski slopes!) following the Spring Collection Paris Fashion Week in January.

Highlights from the catwalks include:

· New must-have accessories such as the limited-edition Versace iPhone.

· Karl Lagerfeld ‘s Marie Antoinette peasant reprisal. See a great clip here:

· Jean Paul Gaultier’s colourful collection, ‘inspired by Montezuma the Aztec emperor along with Avatar’s tribal-eco message’ according to one fashion blogger

· The ‘Halston effect’ (referring to Roy Halston Frowick’s long dresses, or copies of his style, which were popular fashion wear in mid-1970s discotheques).

Who’s wearing who? Which of our style icon celebrities are wearing what Paris couture that is!


(Photo Courtesy of PopBitch)

Anne Hathaway was Giorgio Armani’s guest of honour at the Paris Fashion Week spring show whilst Claudia Schiffer, Alexa Chung, Kanye West and Amber Rose made a bee line for Chanel. Julia Roberts, Alicia Keys, Sarah Jessica Parker and Dita von Teese are just some of the belles spotted wearing Dior.

Jean Paul Gaultier has followers the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Beyonce Knowles.

Of course, wearing couture doesn’t always equate to good taste. Madonna was slammed for her Chanel dress worn on the red carpet at Cannes in 2008.


Paris Fashion Week – Fall-Winter collection

The next Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week will showcase the fall-winter 2010/2011 collections over four days from Monday 5 to Thursday 8 July.

But for Paris ready to wear, March dates are just around the corner: Tuesday, March 2nd to Wednesday, March 10th, 2010. Watch this space for Paris- inspired collections on the UK high street!

If you follow Paris Couture this is what you might expect to be wearing this autumn!

Just for fun

A member of the D&G design team gives us a private tour of a day in the life of ‘young guys gone skiing’. So you CAN accessorize on the slopes chaps!…

Did you know that the modern holiday essential the Bikini is a French invention? Engineer Louis Réard’s risqué two-piece shocked French beaches when it appeared in 1947 and was named the nuclear testing ground in the Binkini Atoll – likening it’s effect to a nuclear explosion. Now that’s one fashion fad that really did catch on!

Chic places to stay in France this summer:



In Cannes during the 2010 international film festival at the – Résidence Pierre & Vacances Villa Francia from just €312 for a week -long stay in studio apartment for two people. 15 – 22 May



In Paris for the Fall-Winter 2010 – 2011 Haut Couture shows – July 5-8, 2010 at the Adagio Paris Haussmann Champs-Elysees from €663 for a studio apartment for two people for three nights.



In Antibes – Pierre & Vacances Premium Port Prestige from €1136 for a one bedroom apartment, sleeping upto four people for a week from 3-10 July, 2010.

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