Is Paris still the fashion capital of the world?

This year’s Paris Fashion Week saw statement moments such as Saint Laurent’s stunning show at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and the rise of Kaia Gerber – supermodel Cindy Crawford’s offspring. Fashion culture has homed itself in the city of love for over 300 years with Parisians fashion orientation and trend setting. Paris isn’t just a hub for everything couture; it’s the domain for arts and culture as the city homes Musee` de Arts (which currently holds an exhibition celebrating 70 years of Christian Dior) and of course the Mona Lisa in Musee` de Louvre (which is surprisingly small in person). With other fashion giants like Milan, London and New York increasingly up to dates on trends, however, the competition between fashion capitals is fierce.

Paris is timeless; it remains relevant throughout history, and to this day. With Paris being fashion’s beating heart for hundreds of years it’s hard to imagine Paris not homing haute-couture or being ahead in street style. YSL made their mark in 1966 when they started prêt-à-porter which placed Paris ahead of any other fashion capital. With the architecture around Paris, fashion houses are promised the most jaw dropping settings with The House of Dior’s commercial being shot in the Hall of Mirrors within the Palace of Versailles. The Independent has reported that in France 165,000 people are employed by the Luxury Fashion industry, this emphasises how important fashion is; not just to French cultural history but to the well-being and economy of Paris.

In the past it has been said that Haute Couture ‘either stays in Paris or ceases to exist’. Paris embodies the glamour and city style that aspiring fashion hubs crave. Places such as the Champs-Elysees with amazing shops that are aesthetically stunning like Cartier allow Paris to maintain their status at the top. Right now, Paris is also birthing many new urban designers such as Demna Gvasalia; the Creative Director of Vetements. 

Visiting Paris is an absolute must. It’s not only the big brands that are worth it; it’s the little citified boutiques such as ‘Wasted Paris’, that capture a unique sense of style and fashion movements within the capital. Paris as a whole is constantly moving forward, constantly exploring trends outside of their traditional fashion houses. 

On the flip side, through the globalization of fashion and easy access to fashion forward trends, cities have been able to adopt and adapt environments from the most fashion magnetic cities; London, Paris, New York and Milan. London (especially London Fashion Week) covets some of fashions biggest names like Vivienne Westwood and Tommy Hilfiger X Gigi, who held their first and only fashion show this season in London. Hong Kong is a growing clothing competitor with the country having over 650 businesses that accounted for over 4,500 jobs. Hong Kong is among leading production companies and now it even hosts clothing and garment fairs. 

Brands such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Yves Saint Lauren source their clothing from Hong Kong and with fast fashion the demand is growing and growing every season. 

For me, Paris is still where the heart of fashion lies and thrives and where it will for the foreseeable future. With leading fashion houses having their haute couture heels dug firmly into the French soil and Paris Fashion Week producing iconic moments every year it’s hard to ignore the concrete reputation the French capital holds. Also, having been lucky enough to visit Paris and witness, experience and feel the charismatic atmosphere, rich cultural history and jaw dropping moments for myself, I am even more convinced that Paris is most definitely (for now) the fashion capital of the world.

Kirsten Williams- Lee

Image: Hollywood reporter