The Paris, Capital of Fashion exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s museum in New York City explores how and why Paris became the international capital of fashion. It features approximately 75 fashion ensembles, dating from the 18th century to the present, as well as accessories. Curated by Dr. Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT, this major exhibition is accompanied by a book and symposium.
The introductory gallery places Paris within the global fashion system. After the Second World War, Paris was repeatedly challenged by new fashion centers, such as London, Milan, and New York. The first section of the main gallery focuses on the rise of the Paris fashion system in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The court at Versailles was the official epicenter of fashion, but fashion professionals were based in the city of Paris and foreign visitors were amazed by the Parisian ‘mania’ for fashion.
The second section explores the growth of the Paris fashion system with its many métiers de la mode and its increased focus on feminine fashion. Particular attention is paid to the development of the haute couture, which transformed dressmaking from a small-scale artisanal craft into big business and high art. Today, globalization and technology have transformed the world of fashion. Yet Paris remains a unique fashion city.
This exhibit is open until January 4, 2020 at the Museum at FIT, in New York City. Stunning designs are drawn from museums in Britain, Europe, North America, and couture archives and private collections, including works by Chanel and Dior.
“…[V]isitors are immersed in the mythic glamor of Paris fashion as the exhibition traces a trajectory from royal splendor at Versailles to the spectacle of haute couture today.”
Of the many things France is renowned for, fashion is most definitely at the forefront. Throughout the centuries, and more recently through globalization and technology, the fashion industry has transformed more than ever. However, in Paris, elegance, simplicity and avant-garde creativity course through designs. And for that, there is a reason why Paris will forever be the capital of fashion.