Paris Fashion Week: 12 Facts You Don’t Know About It

The Eiffel tower, the timeless emblem of love, is revered in Paris, the city of lights. However, it is also known as the city of haute couture, with renowned fashion studios, well-known designers, and, of course, the Paris Fashion Week, a much-anticipated biannual event and a spectacular gathering of fashion lovers.

Paris Fashion Week

Charles Frederick Worth, known as the “Father of Haute Couture,” was actually an Englishman who earned his mark in Paris. In 1858, after relocating to Paris in 1846, Worth pioneered the presentation of his unique creations by displaying them on real women, establishing the role of a model.

However, the first fashion week was held in New York in 1943, when American designers were unable to go to Paris due to World War II. The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in France, concerned about New York’s extensive influence on fashion, established official guidelines for Paris fashion displays near the end of World War II in 1945.

The Paris Fashion Week is like a semiannual reminder of Paris’s magnetism in the world of fashion, from runway fashion to rivalries and beautiful feasts for the eyes of all fashion fans.

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We’ve come up with a list of interesting facts about Paris Fashion Week that you may not be aware of

1. The CatWalks

Despite the fact that fashion shows, or Défilés de mode, have been around for over 170 years. Indeed, the catwalk was born in the 1970s during Paris Fashion Week. It has served as a yardstick since then.

2. Stiff goes real

Fashion exhibitions served as a medium for business interchange between fashion designers and clients in the 18th century. They also used mannequins instead of actual models to display the dresses. As a result, clients had a hard time visualizing how the costumes would look on people. The idea of displaying the pieces on real women from the 1850s arose from there. And the brains behind it all was none other than Charles Frederick Worth, the father of Haute Couture.

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Paris Fashion Week
FILE PHOTO: Models present creations by designer Yohji Yamamoto as part of his Spring-Summer 2023 Women’s ready-to-wear collection show during Paris Fashion Week, France September 30, 2022. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

3. Mandates are always there

The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is the governing body that establishes fashion house standards. It also determines which houses are deserving of the title of true haute couture houses.

4. An epic rivalry

A fashion studio should show a collection of at least 35 ensembles per season, comprising evening and daily wear, according to the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. This directive went into effect in 1945. It paved the path for the initial concept of hosting a fashion event (fashion week) that would feature notable haute couture studios.

5. The first-ever Paris Fashion Week

The first official Paris Fashion Week was held in 1973, and the Fédération Française de la Couture was founded. The show began with a one-of-a-kind ‘battle’ between New York and Paris.

The Battle of Versailles was a sartorial fashion show that pitted five unknown American designers against Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Cardin, Ungaro, and Givenchy in order to generate funds for the Palace’s restoration. Despite the fact that the French were the overwhelming favorites, the Americans were universally regarded as the winners.

it became a red-letter day in the fashion calendar. Eleanor Lambert, the originator of New York Fashion Week, was in charge of the event.

6. A fundraiser held at the royal residence

For the first time in Paris, this exhibition featured collections from renowned haute couture houses, ready-to-wear (prêt-à-porter) pieces, and menswear. The first Paris Fashion Week was a charity event hosted at the Palace of Versailles, a historical landmark in France. It was set up to help pay for the royal house’s renovations. The anticipated overall cost of the renovation was about $60 million.

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7. The PFW – A fair or the Battle of Versailles?

The very first Paris Fashion Week saw a massive fashion rivalry between the United States and France. It included some of the most well-known designers from the pages of fashion history.

Five prominent American designers – Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows, Anne Klein, and Halston – competed on the runway against five prestigious French artists – Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro, and Pierre Cardin. The competition was stiff, to say the least.

8. The star-studded guest list

The event drew a crowd of almost 700 individuals. While the media frenzy surrounding the event may give the impression that anybody and everyone is invited, Paris Fashion Week is an invitation-only event.

The most significant designers, buyers, and editors sit in the front rows. There’s plenty of room for famous influencers as well. The rest of the audience is made up of people who work in the fashion sector. However, as part of the week-long festivities, there are various events that the general public can attend.

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9. The masterstroke that stole the show

Time and time again, history was made on the runways of Paris Fashion Week. The American designers defied stereotypes by casting Black models, which was a rare occurrence at the time. Yes, 11 of the 36 models available are black. This one-of-a-kind move seized the event and enthralled the audience like nothing else.

10. For the first time, the private has now become public

Fashion shows were previously private occurrences until Thierry Mugler, a well-known French fashion designer, opened them to the public in 1984. The open-to-the-public fashion show was held in the Le Zénith stadium, and over 6,000 people attended.

11. Fashion parade beneath Parisian monuments 

The fashion shows of Paris Fashion Week take place in a variety of historical monuments with stunning backdrops. Fashion businesses, for the most part, have specialized locations ready to conduct their presentations each year.

The Grand Palais for Chanel, the Louvre for Louis Vuitton, the Musée Rodin for Dior, and the Eiffel Tower for Saint Laurent’s stunning shows are just a few examples.

12. The Birthplace Of Haute Couture

While elevating the world of fashion to new heights, Paris Fashion Week has left an indelible mark on the industry’s history. This fashion parade is noted for its extravagance and strong competition amongst top-notch haute couture brands. It is the essence of class, rivalry, defying rules, and everything in between.

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