Paris: Capital of Fashion
The Museum at FIT & Bloomsbury, 2019
‘Paris Capital of Fashion’ accompanies a major exhibition at The Museum at FIT, New York’s only museum dedicated solely to the art of fashion. This lavishly-illustrated book is edited by MFIT’s director and chief curator, Valerie Steele, also the author of the acclaimed Paris Fashion: A Cultural History. This new book opens with an important essay on how and why Paris became famous as the international ‘capital of fashion.’
Steele traces how the mythic ‘aura’ of Paris fashion was constructed over generations, as the splendour of the court at Versailles came to be echoed by the spectacle of the haute couture. Yet Paris has faced repeated challenges from other fashion capitals, especially London, Milan, and New York. Essays by Christopher Breward, David Gilbert, Grazia d’Annunzio, and Antonia Finnane place Paris within a broader global narrative, while Sophie Kurkdjian investigates the cultural value of the Parisian couture, and Agnès Rocomora explores the online imagery of the chic Parisienne.
As The New Yorker recently put it, Paris is ‘the most glamorous and competitive of the world’s fashion capitals.’ No other city has been branded ‘Fashion’ as Paris has. By opening the study of Paris fashion to new approaches, this book explains why Paris still retains its position as the world’s undisputed fashion capital.