Top 5 fashion designers in Paris
The other cities might get jealous… Paris is the city of Light and the city of Love, but it is also known as the capital of Fashion (things to know about Parisian Fashion). How come? All the greatest trends of Fashion history were born in Paris. The most outrageous, shocking and influential trends have started in Paris. So it was inevitable for Paris to be considered the capital of Fashion. Under Louis XIV, the Sun-King, Fashion was already extremely important and was already influencing the rest of the world.
In Versailles, The King thought that appearances were crucial to intimidate the rivals and the enemies (learn more about French kings). It was essential for him to maintain a luxurious and elegant look. He expected his court to do the same, so he used to summon the best tailors for them to dress the nobles of the court. Everyone had to look flawless and outstanding. It was one of the Court rules. The way people dressed was to show the world how successful they were in life. This established French sense of fashion forever.
In the 19th century, the first Haute Couture fashion house was created. Guess where? At Rue de la Paix. The House of Worth was founded by Charles Frederick Worth, an English fashion designer. He is the one who started labeling clothes and introduced runway shows and the principle of exhibiting collections. That is when Paris witnessed an increasing popularity in terms of Fashion. All fashion designers wanted to get their fashion houses and headquarters in Paris.
Since then, Paris kept on growing and became the most influential city for Fashion. It was and still is the birthplace for many trends. For example, the concept of fashion week began in Paris. The last of the big four Fashion Weeks (Paris, Milan, London, New York) is held in Paris. In my opinion, to save the best for last! In fact, you don’t exist in the Fashion industry until you get your collections exhibited in Paris Fashion Week. It’s a cruel world…
Fashion is kind of a big deal nowadays, otherwise, it wouldn’t draw that much attention. For you to understand how the most iconic and timeless trends marked fashion history and, at some level, also kind of changed society and opened people’s minds, here is my top 5 fashion designers in Paris.
The elegant Coco Chanel
We all know Coco Chanel. The two interlaced C’s are iconic. From clothing and jewelry to fragrance, Coco Chanel made history and will live on forever. She was in 1883 known as Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. But, in 1907, a desire to be in the spotlight was growing in her. She started performing in the cafés at Moulins. That’s when she got her name “Coco”. She used to sing “Qui qu’a vu Coco?”. She was orphan at the age of 12 and went to live in an abbey. That’s what inspired her black, white and beige collections. At the age of 18, she started sewing and created her own clothes and hats.
Coco Chanel opened her first shop in 1910 in Paris. She stood out from the fashion of the time. Her style was and still is, unique and original. Black color started to appear in people’s wardrobe. People started wearing black not only for funerals. Women started wearing cardigans and pants (an item reserved for men at the time). She created clothes for independent and active women. She wanted to free women, she wanted them to feel comfortable but still elegant. Clothing was to be simple and comfortable, and skirts got shorter.
She mixed masculine fashion with feminine and it was a success! She invented the “tailleur Chanel”, a famous and timeless suit that passed the test of time. It is a tweed double-breasted jacket and a knee-length pencil skirt. The most famous one is probably the pink one Jacqueline Kennedy was wearing the day her husband, John F. Kennedy was killed in 1963. The pink suit is being kept in the National Archives in the USA. It will only be shown to the public from 2103, upon request of Caroline Kennedy, the sole heir of the Kennedy family. Women like Jacqueline Kennedy and Lady Diana made the Chanel suit a symbol of feminine elegance.
Coco Chanel made popular the Little Black Dress. Since its creation, it has become a must in every woman’s wardrobe. From casual days to classy dinners, a little black dress is always appropriate. It is trendy and classy. When you don’t know what to wear, just pick the little black dress, and you’re good to go! Coco Chanel allied simplicity with elegance. She is the one who established the Parisian fashion style rules. She freed women and changed women’s way of dressing forever! Thank you, Coco!
“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” – Coco Chanel
The provocative Jean-Paul Gaultier
My top 5 fashion designers continue with the famous and provocative Jean Paul Gaultier. Since an early age, his taste for fashion was obvious. He was fascinated by his grandmother’s corsets. He used to read fashion magazines and was always updated about the newest trends and latest fashion designers that were on heat. He was passionate about fashion and designed clothes for his mother and grandmother. He sent some of his sketches to Parisian fashion designers and ended up working with successful ones, such as Pierre Cardin.
His catwalk shows are not only exhibitions of his collections, they are pure show! When people get invited to his fashion shows, they know it won’t be boring! Wonder and originality are always guaranteed! The models he picks for his shows are pretty different from the usual. Some of them have been spotted on the streets by Jean Paul Gaultier himself. Tattooed models, pierced models, midgets, pregnant women are examples of some of the people that are hired for his fashion shows. He challenges fashion standards. He confronts the idea of gender in his creations, such as men wearing skirts.
Jean Paul Gaultier is the creator of one of the most iconic outfits of music performance industry: the cone bra Madonna wore during the Blonde Ambition Tour in 1990. Since the time it was first revealed, the cone bra was revisited many times. Jean Paul Gaultier also popularized the “sailor sweater” by bringing it to life in his fashion shows. He drew the attention of the fashion world and became one of the most outrageous and highly requested fashion designer for many artists and many film costumes.
“To conform is to give in.” – Jean Paul Gaultier
The impressive Yves Saint Laurent
Have you ever seen women wearing tuxedos? Well, that’s thanks to Yves Saint Laurent (read fun facts about YSL). From 1955 to 1957, Yves Saint Laurent worked for Dior. In 1957, Christian Dior, founder of Dior, died. Yves Saint Laurent became Dior’s director but, in 1960, he got fired. He decided then to launch his own Haute Couture House. The Yves Saint Laurent House was born.
In my opinion, he is one of the most impressive fashion designers, if not the most. His creations are timeless, still trendy and will forever be. Parisian women are the classiest of the world, thanks to Yves Saint Laurent. There’s a good reason a film was released in 2014 to pay tribute to this amazing fashion designer.
We owe him creations like the tuxedo for women, tuxedo-dresses, modern safari jackets, see-through shirts, and dresses. Yves Saint Laurent also used to present “tribute collections”. Some of his collections and fashion shows were to pay tribute to painters such as Picasso (read more about our Picasso Art Tour in le Marais) and Van Gogh. He also was the first fashion designer to hire Asian and African models for his exhibitions.
Thanks to his creations and modernity, women discover and explore their feminity through new perspectives. Women are sexy and they know it. Skin is a little more exposed. Yves Saint Laurent shocked the world, especially the United States of America. But it has been a success and the whole fashion industry now draw its inspiration from Yves Saint Laurent. All his creations are all about chicness and elegance. The most “Parisian” fashion designer of them all is Yves Saint Laurent!
“Fashion fades, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint-Laurent
The cheerful Sonia Rykiel
For Sonia Rykiel, fashion has to be fun, colorful and comfortable. Sonia Rykiel is the knit queen!
She opened her first shop in 1968 at Rue de Grenelle in Saint Germain des Près neighborhood, that she considered to be the real Paris. Celebrities like Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn popularized her creations. She first started designing comfortable dresses for pregnant women with sweet messages printed on it such as “happy” and “sensual”.
Sonia Rykiel was the first to print slogans on her sweaters and now every brand does the same. Her creativity and originality are what made her unique and inimitable. She immediately seduced women. Sonia Rykiel was going against the flow of fashion of the time. She was combining elegance with comfort! People loved it! She wanted people to have fun getting dress. Life can get hard sometimes, but it always seems to be easier, more joyful when wearing a Sonia Rykiel sweater. Her colorful stripe dresses and sweaters are the most original product you can have in your wardrobe. It cheers instantly one up!
Unfortunately, our most fun fashion designer passed away from Parkinson’s disease, on the 25th of August of 2016. But she will be forever remembered and loved for her colorful creations and for the funniest fashion shows. The models danced on the runway, laughed, hugged each other. Everytime a Sonia Rykiel fashion show was happening, you know you would be spending a great moment full of laughter.
“Everything I do is really an expression of myself, through colors and shapes and, at the same time, I try to explain what I feel not only as a creator but also as a woman. I cannot separate one from the other.” – Sonia Rykiel
The sophisticated Christian Louboutin
We all know about the famous red-soled high heels of Christian Louboutin. Every influential celebrity has them on their feet and there’s a good reason for it.
During his teenage years, Louboutin started spending nights in popular Parisian clubs (learn more about where to party in Paris!) where he got to meet important figures of the fashion world. Among them, Hélène de Mortmart from Dior house who pulled some strings for him to get an internship at Charles Jourdan, the so-called inventor of the stiletto heel. It is where he got to learn everything about shoe design. When the internship was over, he pursued his dream and worked as a freelance shoe designer for leading fashion brands, such as Hervé Léger and Chanel.
In 1991, Christian Louboutin opened his first shop in Paris at rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau that you can visit during our Hidden gems free (tip-only) walking tour! Over the years, Christian Louboutin increased his popularity and turned out to be a must for the most well-known celebrities.
People like Dita Von Teese, Blake Lively, Uma Thurman and Christina Aguilera only have eyes for Christian Louboutin shoes. He is the fashion designer which creations are put on every model’s feet at fashion shows. All pop artists, like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, want some Christian Louboutin high heels to perform. The Christian Louboutin creations never go out of fashion and go well with any outfit. For a matter of fact, wearing his red-soled sophisticated shoes will instantly make you sexier.
“The higher the better. It’s more about an attitude. High heels empower women in a way.” – Christian Louboutin
Our top 5 fashion designers in Paris is now over. Now, you know exactly why Paris is considered to be the capital of Fashion. The trendiest trends of them all are born in Paris (read more about famous artists who lived in Paris). It is the starting point of all the most original trends the fashion world has witnessed.
Fashion designers in Paris revolutionized the fashion industry. They shocked the world, made history and opened up people’s mind. Fashion designers like Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, Christian Louboutin, but also Karl Lagerfield, Isabel Marant, Agnès b., Pierre Cardin are fashion pioneers. Those fashion designers established the fashion standards and principles. Their creations and ideas will live forever and will never go out of date!