Paris Fashion Week gives top designers a chance to give the public a sneak preview of their upcoming collections through a series of fashion shows and presentations. The event occurs twice a year with the intent to show trending styles for the upcoming spring/summer and fall/winter seasons to the world. The event occurs on varying dates each year from January to April and September through November. Paris was the starting point for Fashion Week and later expanded to include the cities of New York, London, and Milan.
Behind the fashion
The events leading up to Paris Fashion Week began centuries before the event first occurred. Paris was the original hub of fashion design. The pioneers of French couture created the dawn of a booming industry that continues today.
Designers began creating sought-after styles in France during the 17th century. People worked to create unique clothing that exemplified class and quality that met the standards of royalty and the wealthy class. Fashion experts and historians often credit Louis XIV as being a forerunner of the fashion industry. He set the trend for curly wigs and elaborative attire. Fashion designers soon became well renowned and respected during this time, and their successors continued the reign over the years. Royal fashion began influencing the clothing styles that everyone wore, no matter what their class was.
Vogue's American editor-in-chief Edna Woolman Chase helped create the first fashion show in 1914. Her goal was to keep French couture popular during World War I. Without French fashion for American designers to emulate, her job as a fashion magazine editor was at risk. She developed the runway concept and taught models how to walk and show off clothing in a flattering way. Chase organised the fashion show that was a precursor to Fashion Week at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which was a success.
A week for fashion
Edna Woolman Chase created a trend of her own by hosting her fashion show. Runway shows began occurring in Paris frequently and became one of the most effective ways for designers to showcase their work. However, the occupation of Paris by the Nazis during World War II made it impossible for the fashion shows to take place in the city. Eleanor Lambert, a fashion publicist, decided to take Paris fashion to the United States. She created an event called "Press Week" in New York. She organised fashion shows and invited journalists to report on the latest designs. The popularity of fashion shows continued through war and peace, and in 1973, Paris Fashion Week was born. Milan, London, and New York followed shortly.
Memorable Fashion Week moments
Paris Fashion Week is always full of surprising moments. Over the years, designers, models, and celebrities pushed the limit with new and shocking concepts and scenes. Some notable moments were thought of beforehand and others occurred by accident.
Grin and bare it
Madonna often uses shock value to get attention, and her appearance at the 1990 Paris Fashion Week was no exception. She strutted down the runway sporting the Gaultier collection and bare chest. Another nude moment occurred when Edie Campbell walked the runway covered only in Louis Vuitton's name scrawled repeatedly across her body.
During the 1993 event, Naomi Campbell famously wore a pair of nine-inch heels, causing her to lose her footing and take a tumble on the runway. In 2014, Karl Lagerfeld set up his runway to look like a grocery store for a unique fashion scene. Rihanna pushed Cara Delevingne down the runway in a shopping trolley as the pair donned clothing from the designer's latest collection.
Celebrities sometimes try their hand at fashion design. Lindsay Lohan served as artistic director for Emanuel Ungaro in 2009, but her contribution to the collection was not well received. Kanye West made his fashion debut in 2011, complete with breezy fabrics, fur, and leather. He received mixed reviews from the fashion world.
How to buy couture clothing on eBay
You can find new or vintage couture clothing on eBay, often at a lower price than retail. Use the search bar on any eBay page to enter keywords, such as "couture fashion". Filter your results with details, such as "BCBG gown" or "Dior shoes". View a detailed item description, pictures, and shipping options of a product of interest on the seller's page. Some sellers offer free shipping to save you more money. You can also look for local sellers in your area.