France has a rich history of fashion and style, and is home to many legendary fashion designers and brands. Many leading fashion companies have their headquarters located in Paris, which is aptly regarded as the Fashion Capital of the World. The French have contributed many iconic and revolutionary pieces, securing their position as one of the leading countries in the fashion industry. Here are some of the most iconic French designs and the stories of their creation.
Givenchy’s Little Black Dress
Founded by French designer Hubert de Givenchy in 1952, Givenchy is a luxury fashion brand that produces clothing, perfumes, accessories and cosmetics. For the first two decades after its formation, the fashion house focused on haute couture womenswear. In 1979, he released his first ready-to-wear line for men, “Givenchy Université”, becoming one of the earliest to introduce ready-to-wear lines in the luxury clothing industry.
This well-established brand is part of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), the largest luxury goods conglomerate in the world. According to LVMH, Givenchy’s fashion style is “casual chic, aristocratic elegance and femininity all combine[d]”, but they cater to the male market as well. The brand is also a member of La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, an organization that governs France’s fashion industry.
The brand has been affiliated with plenty of famous figures, but the most iconic brand ambassador for Givenchy easily goes to Audrey Hepburn. The star wore the brand both in real life and in the films she starred in, many of which turned out to become classics. One design in particular became one of the most influential dresses in clothing design, and that is the “little black dress” worn by Hepburn in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Hepburn had a close friendship with Givenchy himself, and went on to become the face and muse of the brand for over 40 years. Givenchy even had a perfume made exclusively for Hepburn’s personal use, before marketing it to the rest of the world one year later.
In the past few decades since its establishment, Givenchy has continued to have a strong presence in the luxury fashion industry, often worn by influential persons and celebrities alike. Most recently, Givenchy appointed the first ever K-pop group to be their brand ambassador, up-and-rising girl group Aespa.
Chanel No. 5 and Chanel Flap Bag
Starting out as a hat store in Paris in 1909, the brand has gone on and evolved into one of the most recognizable fashion names of today, producing clothing, accessories and perfumes. Founder Coco Chanel designed womenswear with simplicity and functionality in mind, at the same time keeping them elegant and timeless.
In 1921, Chanel launched their first perfume, which would go on to become one of the most iconic Chanel products today: Chanel No. 5. Every aspect of the perfume from its scent to the bottle design has become a renowned feature in the fashion industry. The first product ambassador for Chanel No. 5 was none other than Coco herself, and was later promoted by other big stars like Marilyn Monroe.
Among her other iconic inventions are the Chanel Flap Bag, one of the most recognizable luxury brand handbags. With its launch, Coco Chanel revolutionized handbag fashion by introducing a long shoulder strap that can be slung over the shoulders, instead of having to be clutched in the hands as with most designs back in the day.
The bag has many notable features like its turn-lock clasps, the diamond-shaped quilting pattern, and the burgundy inner lining that distinguishes it from other designs. In line with the brand’s style, the Chanel Flap Bag combines functionality and simplicity, resulting in a design that is both lasting and versatile.
Christian Louboutin Red-Sole Shoes
Christian Louboutin started out as a freelance fashion designer in his hometown Paris, before opening his own shoe salon in 1991. Since its opening, the brand has received tremendous success and love from patrons and the public. In 2011, Louboutin was one of the most widely searched shoe brands on the internet, and was given the title of the Most Prestigious Women’s Shoes by the Luxury Institute for three years in a row.
While the brand now produces an assortment of fashion accessories like handbags and perfumes, their signature products continue to be their high heels, specifically, the red-soled stiletto. While the shiny red-sole design has practically become synonymous with the brand, the laws regarding ownership of a single color are not so straightforward. Louboutin has continuously fought to trademark his signature design, undergoing numerous litigations under various jurisdictions.
The popular red-bottomed high heels come in a wide variety of different styles ranging from plain nudes to flashy spike-studded heels. But not to forget, Louboutin also produces lower-heeled shoes, flats, and even mens’ footwear. Till today, Louboutin shoes continue to be one of the most coveted shoes, boasting fantastic sales records every year despite their high price.