March 6, 2015

style stories #38: Paris Fashion Week a la reine

A.F. Vandevorst*
No other city has done more to inspire sartorial genius, frivolity and luscious frippery than Paris. Long before Dior and Madame Lanvin were draping silks and satins, the Sun King used unprecedented pageantry to demonstrate 'l'etat c'est moi' glory. A century later, Marie Antoinette, a rapacious student of all things superficial, established a "fashion-oriented court" for she understood the power of outward appeareances. Boy, did she ever. Good times for the marchandes de modes or female fashion mechants, rising to unheard of heights during the last three decades of that fateful 18th century in response to "a paradigm shift in the Parisian clothing market." Before the reign of terror, there was the reign of I am beyond fabulous. Access to different fabrics, colors, textiles, accessories and royal 'It' girl, Queen Marie Antoinette fed the hunger women of the middle and working class had for "diversity and frivolity". This was after the aristocrats stormed their favorite modiste's shop to be first to copy all that was 'a la reine'.
"All of Paris came out. Everyone looked happy; it was one continual fete." With all that history, how can you not delight in Paris Fashion Week?
Piles of damasks, silks, brocades, fur and feather trims, feather-light wools and well-placed ardornments, the inspired genius of Belgian-born Van Noten makes his show a highlight. Day one. I would totally make Dries Van Noten mandatory in my kingdom. As for the unfortunate Marie Antoinette: she would appreciate the head pieces at AF Vandevorst.

excerpts in quotations from "Queen of Fashion", What Marie Antoinette wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber
photos via
follow the highlights of Paris Fashion Week on Lola's PInterest:

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