Wednesday, April 22, 2020

History of Fashion Week

Catwalk, Models, Women, FashionFashion week is one of the events in the fashion world where designers get to show their work to everyone.  It is something I remember hearing about since I was a teenager but I wonder how long it has actually been around.

The idea of fashion week actually began in Paris during the 1800's when the fashion salons hosted private showings for those who could afford these fashions.

This continued until the early 1900's when Ehrich Brothers department store in New York City hosted the first fashion show in the United States.  Many other stores followed their lead and began hosting shows of their own.

At this point, Paris was still considered the center of fashion to the point that American companies paid people to make copies of the most current fashion so they could create knockoffs for their clients.  When World War II broke out and Germans invaded Paris, the fashion houses continued producing fashion for the Germans.

This gave the United States a chance to take the lead on creating fashion.  In 1943 Elenor Lambert, a fashion influencer of the time, took all the individual fashion shows and clustered them to cover one week.  Thus all these designers had a chance to show their work all in one place in New York City.  She called it the "Fashion Press Week" or just the "Press Week."  It was a way to showcase American fashion at a time when Paris was occupied.

They organized the fashion weeks to showcase seasonal designs so there were four each year.  These shows continued during the same time of year but the location kept changing until 1993 where they stayed but the show was named after the company who put it on.  Eventually the show became the "New York Fashion Week" in the 2000's.

Shortly after the war ended in 1945, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture mandated that ll couture houses needed to produce 35 day and evening outfits seasonally.  Part of this had to do with New York becoming the center of fashion during the war and Paris wanted to show people they still had it.  In 1947, Dior with his new look took the focus on French Fashion back.

However, the Paris Fashion Week as we know it today didn't start until 1973 when the show pitted 5 top French designers against 5 Americans in a show to raise monies to help restore Versailles.  It was quite successful and the audience seemed to prefer American Fashion.

Another country that moved into the fashion ring was Italy.  Italy had mostly produced locally purchased fashion but at the end of World War II, they moved towards being internationally recognized.  Various cities such as Rome and Florence produced their version of fashion but it was Milan in 1958 that they started taking the lead under the National Chamber of Italian Fashion.

In 1961, Vogue Italia opened its doors and over the years Armani and Versace opened their doors and added to the fashion shows held during fashion week.  The thing is that some of the Italian Fashion houses have independent shows rather than participating in Fashion Week.

The last international fashion week began in London in 1984.  It was organized by the British Fashion Council as a week long event.  The first show ended up being held in a parking lot but eventually moved to the Ritz. In addition, shows are held every February and September  every year.   The London Fashion week has seen it's share of ups and downs over time but it is still seen as one of the big four.

For all four fashion weeks, they have the runway version of the fashions which make their appearance often as a more accessible form and for those of us who do not have the money, we end up wearing the off the rack ready to wear version.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  have a great day.

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