Paris, Capital of Fashion

Bloomsbury Visual Arts. Sept. 2019. 216p. ed. by ed. by Valerie Steele. ISBN 9781350102941. $50. DEC ARTS
This volume accompanies an exhibition of the same name at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). In Chapter 1, editor Steele (chief curator, FIT Museum) describes the birth of Paris as the capital of fashion from the 17th and 18th centuries to the rise of Parisian haute couture in the 19th century, discusses 20th-century Parisian couturiers such as Chanel and Dior, then moves into the 21st century. Other fashion and cultural historians explore the city as the capital of fashion within a global context. Another section looks at the role of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne, which, in response to two world wars, strengthened and reinforced Paris couture’s exclusive position by raising industry standards. Additional essays examine fashion metropolises such as London, New York, Milan, Rome, Shanghai, and Beijing in relation to the Parisian ideal.
VERDICT This excellent book, with its many wonderful color illustrations, is recommended for fashion lovers and those interested in the cultural history of fashion.
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