Happy Bastille Day, francophones! In honor of France’s Fete Nationale, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, (starting the French Revolution), I decided to pay homage to some of the country’s most influential fashion houses. Similar to our 4th of July holiday, the French celebrate this occasion with such patriotic festivities as fireworks and a military parade (the oldest and largest in Europe!) on Paris’ famed Champs-Elysees avenue. But enough about tradition. Let’s break out the champagne and say ‘Salut‘ to these iconic designers.
DESIGNER: CHRISTIAN DIOR
Founded: December 16, 1946
He Should Have Been: A diplomat
Signature Style: Voluptuous shapes and silhouettes that flare out from the waist to enhance women’s curves.
Name Game: He called his first collection Corolle. Translation: Circle of flower petals.
Quote: “I have designed flower women.”
Current Creator: Raf Simons
DESIGNER: LOUIS VUITTON
Leader Of The Pack: World’s most valuable luxury brand for seven consecutive years (2006-2012)
Revolutionary: First designer to create flat-bottom trunks made of trianon canvas. They were airtight, lightweight and stackable – ideal for travel.
Take A Hike: He moved to Paris from his hometown of Jura, France, in 1835. The journey was 250 miles. He made it on foot.
Signature Style: Brand’s iconic monogram
Current Creator: Marc Jacobs
DESIGNER: YVES SAINT LAURENT
Claim To Fame: Introduced the tuxedo suit for women – Le Smoking
Revolutionary: First designer to use ethnic models in his runway shows
Small World: He was the head designer of Christian Dior at age 21
Trend Maker: Popularized the ‘beatnik’ look, safari jackets, tight pants and thigh high boots
Current Creator: Hedi Slimane
DESIGNER: HUBERT DE GIVENCHY
Signature Style: Modern and ladylike
Claim To Fame: Designed Audrey Hepburn’s on- and off-screen wardrobe
In The Driver’s Seat: Ford offered a Givenchy edition of its Continental Mark luxury cars from 1976-1983.
Current Creator: Riccardo Tisci
DESIGNER: JEANNE-MARIE LANVIN [Girl Power!]
Like Mother, Like Daughter: Rich folks noticed the beautiful clothes she made for her daughter and ordered similar dresses for themselves and their children.
Signature Style: Intricate trimmings, virtuoso embroideries, beaded decorations in pastel colors
Current Creator: Alber Elbaz