Paris First

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Fashion was born in Paris and, ever since, the city has remained an irresistible magnet for generations of designers born both here and abroad. In the middle of the 19th century, Charles Frederick Worth—considered the first true grand couturier—migrated to the French capital from Great Britain. One hundred years later, the Italian Elsa Schiaparelli and the Spanish-born Cristóbal Balenciaga elected Paris’s reputation to new heights.

French designers have, naturally, spearheaded innumerable revolutions of style, from Dior’s New Look to Courrèges’s fantasies of the Space Age to Yves Saint Laurent’s still-influential ‘40s collection. But in the ‘80s, it was the Japanese—Kenzo Takada, Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto—who turned fashion on its head. Still later, Paris is where the Tunisian Azzedine Alaïa, British Vivienne Westwood, Austrian Helmut Lang, and Belgian Martin Margiela all converged to rebel against and redefine the language of fashion.

Today, both fledgling designers and ambitious artistic directors, many from the former Eastern Bloc, flock to our city, drawn to runways that continue to inspire, influence, and sometimes, if we’re lucky, even scandalize. Ça c’est Paris!


Photographs Bettina Rheims, CR Fashion Book Issue 10
Curator and Words Olivier Chatenet
Makeup Stephane Marais
Hair Olivier Shawalder
Manicure Typhane Kersual

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