There is no other city like Paris. It makes me to visit hairdresser, go for manicure and pedicure, before I enter it. As well as to dress up in a specific, Parisian way. The cape was something I dreamed about maybe two years before the designers reinvented it again. And it somehow seemed to fit in this beautiful environment.
I bought this black cape, coincidentally, right in Paris, while trying to hide from the rain in a shop. Together with the pair of dark blue high waisted jeans and white cropped top, I felt ready for the Parisian streets, wearing it. And of course, with almost no make up, but the red rouge. Same I did in the simple blue backless dress combined with golden jewellery and golden high heel sandals. However, I’m not sure it’s really so obvious what the Parisian style, probably the most glorified one, is like.
I believe it can hardly be described as something consistent. Regardless, if we consider fashion of two biggest couture houses of the world, Chanel and Dior, or the street style.
It ranges from simple, elegant, chic, romantic, playful to posh and sophisticated. Depends highly on the area you’re currently walking through, or vision of the influencing designers.
Although, it seems that nowadays Parisian style is mostly identified with simple, chic and effortless elegance with limited use of colours. That’s also what comes into my mind first, when I think about Parisian style.
This was the approach of the famous Coco Chanel. She was the one who brought functionality and simplicity into the traditionally opulent French fashion.
But then, no one else than another fashion superstar, Christian Dior, had almost destroyed her effort to liberate women of restrictions, after the Second World War. Two competitors couldn’t diverge more in their opinion on how women should look like.
Cape – Mango
Matter of philosophy
Dior’s rediscovering of the Belle Epoche silhouette could be called “new look” only if compared to strictness of the war fashion. And Chanel didn’t hide her contempt. “Dior? He doesn’t dress women, he upholsters them,” she claimed.
She couldn’t find a nice word for any of her competitors including Balenciaga or Yves Saint Laurent. Coco Chanel believed men dress women badly because they scorn them.
There was more than the taste in clothes that differed designers. It was the matter of philosophy. While Chanel insisted that modern woman needed to move and clothes cannot limit her, Dior, once again, maybe unwillingly, dressed women up “as sex objects and status symbols for their husbands.”*
Finally, both are legends. Chanel, as the deserved number one of the fashion world, followed by Dior.
Despite Coco Chanel is, in my eyes, and many others’ as well, unique and irreplaceable ‘one and only,’ I do like many of Dior’s later designs, too.
And we are lucky to have freedom to choose from all that incredible diversity, mix it and create our own interpretations of what calls Parisian style.
*Charlotte Seeling: Fashion, Photos by Renata Vegh and Daniela Rifai