Paris is well documented as one of the biggest Fashion capitals in the world, with many large fashion houses having their origins in Paris. Unlike other cities, Paris has maintained a couture style regardless of its history. Women’s fashion within Paris has remained chic and classy, reflecting the bourgeois life the city screams of.
“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” – Coco Chanel
The start of the twentieth century brought an uprising in the already fashionable Paris, with many new designers, and existing names in fashion, expanding into large fashion houses. The specialities of these houses were elaborate and regal evening gowns, designed for the upper classes. Rich fabrics like velvet were a common favourite, imitating the gowns worn by royalty. The silhouette remained traditional, with a slim waist and full skirt, but designers such as Coco Chanel were starting to update this style of gown, reflecting a modern Paris. With the arrival of World War I the role of women changed in Paris, and subsequently, so did the clothing.
(1920’s Paris saw more heels and leg shown. trend-kid.com)
Like women all over Europe in the 1920s, the women of Paris faced a mini revolution. Females had more power and more attitude, accompanied by their new-found independence brought about during the war. With this freedom came an edgy new look. Women started smoking openly in public, wearing high heels with bare legs, and shorter skirts. The pulled-in silhouette of the past was switched for a looser fitting androgynous fit, a large focus was still placed on looking, and feeling, elegant. With the late 1920s and early 1930s came a huge influx of American influence. Many American artists and authors flooded the streets of Paris, including Ernest Hemmingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. A love of jazz music grew throughout the city, and the relaxed feel of the 1920s continued into the next decade, despite the arrival of World War II. Clothing remained relaxed, and the Parisian Fashion Houses took influences from the Hollywood starlets, taking the glamour of Parisian fashion to a heightened level.