Today’s post was written by Elinor Coleman, Vintage Mirage.
French fashion designers are recognizable for innovative styling, detailed workmanship, and classic looks that transcend the ages. For me and Vintage Mirage the love affair begins in the 20th century. This blog will present pieces from Chanel, Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Schiaparelli, and Christian Lacroix. Of course there are many other designers who create wonderful looks. You cannot go wrong investing in pieces from the French fashion houses, since the items will last and can be interspersed within your wardrobe.
Adding an item of French design to your look, even blue jeans and leggings to formal gala outfits and operatic openings and dinners and the overall statement will be glamourized by this juxtaposition. Wearing a single piece of these designers can jazz up your wardrobe and add flair to your overall look.
Coco Chanel is a very recognizable designer, because of the classic styles, the double overplaced C’s and the panache in which she lived and worked in Paris. The perfume, multi-strand pearl necklace and scarf is iconic. Many books and exhibits have been written or presented about Coco in the context of WWII.
Chanel black leather caviar purses are sturdy, timeless, elegant and practical. The detail of the leather strip wound through the chain serves as a stronger anchor for wearing the purse on your shoulder. Who can resist the appliqued double C’s. The eyeglasses are distinctive and elegant with the white frames. Did you know that Coco’s seamstress designed the European or West version of the ancient Tibetan wrap dress (and bias cut spiral dress) in the 1930’s?
Major fabric innovations followed these dresses just as the WWII finished. This paved the way for Diane Von Furstenberg to then innovate additional changes to the wrap dress.
Yves St Laurent was such a romantic and innovator who introduced to women the tuxedo and pajama trouser fashion. Presented here is for fun, the gold tone with red crystals butterfly pin. Yves was from Morocco, and now his estate has established a wonderful garden and design museum in Marrakesh that is open to the public. The large wool scarf has a marble or wood grain pattern which includes magenta, pink and burgundy colors- large enough to wear as a shawl or rolled up in the Parisian method to be wound around the neck to ward off the winds of Paris streets. Such a scarf is quintessential Paris style.
Elsa Schiaparelli was a contemporary designer of Coco Chanel with an atelier in Paris, during the WWII and with new books out and maybe a movie, presents a very professional life marred by political intrigue not widely known here in America. The designs of hats, jewelry show modern contemporary geometric lines with interesting materials. The red cashmere hat shows practical lines mixed with unexpected geometry. The hat almost appears to be based upon a brimless men’s hat or military helmet.
Christian Lacroix is currently creating jewelry, clothing and purses with fun motifs. Many museums have pieces of this designer including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The fashion jewelry pieces are distinctive in the gold tones, cut out work, and natural subjects, such as suns, flowers, masks. It is easy to add one of Lacroix’s pins to a jacket or blouse for flair.
Pierre Cardin created classic clothing, purses, uniforms, jewelry and scarves- all very timeless in the design, shape and fabric, which could be worn in combinations and as accent pieces for an outfit Cardin created space age designs of uniforms and helmets and goggles bringing glamour to utilitarian items with fun and flair. His efforts to license out his designs for production of sunglasses, goggles and accessories was a futuristic business model he innovated, still used today. The tan silk shawl has black motifs and lines interspersed with orange splotches. Measuring 44 inches by 70 inches presents an unique take on the traditional Hermes silk square scarf, which had most design elements inside the border.
So as you can see in these pictures and with the short comments on these French designers, you can have great glamourous looks just by adding one piece to your outfit!
Visit us here at Vintage Mirage to see, try on, feel and accessorize your wardrobe with these pieces from France! Happy Consignment Shopping!