Since the beginning of ‘Fashion” in the 19th century, when the first Haute Couture fashion house was established by Charles Frederick Worth in 1853, Paris has been considered as the epicentre of what is fashionable. From the 1920s the French fashion export industry has been an important industry. At that time, it was estimated to be worth 2,500 million francs.
Fashion in France now accounts for 150 billion euros in direct sales, of which, exports reach 33 billion euros. It represents 27% of the French GDP and employs over 1 million people. French fashion companies lead the world in fashion industries and Paris Fashion Week is its largest driving force.
Fashion with its endless field of expression and creativity, is now a global business and today the French Fashion industry continues to be a major economic hub of its economy and a source of creative inspiration to the rest of the world.
The French fashion industry is an ecosystem that unites creativity, design, technical skill, and management of its value chain. The scope includes Textiles and clothing, shoes, leather goods, watch making, jewellery, perfumes and cosmetics from creation, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail activities
Given the strength and impact of this industry it is only fitting that they have some of the best Museums and Galleries dedicated to fashion, art, and design in Paris. If you are interested fashion, see below for the must-see museum guide for fashion and design.
- Musée des Arts Décoratifs
- Musée Yves Saint Laurent
- Palais Galliera
- The Cité de la Mode et du Design
- Pierre Cardin Museum.
- The Louvre Museum
- The centre Pompidou
- The Fondation Louis Vuitton
- Palais de Tokyo
Located between the Tuileries gardens and the Place du Palais Royal, Les Arts Décoratifs (the museum of Decorative Arts) is the conservatory of the genius of craftsmen and artists. The museum house one of the most important collections in the world, presents, from the Middle Ages to the present day, an unparalleled panorama of the history of furniture, glass, ceramics, silverware, jewellery, design, textiles and fashion, graphics and advertising.
With a dedicated Fashion & Textiles department, this collection is made up of costumes, accessories, textiles but also a large collection of photographs and graphic art. Now integrated into the Decorative Arts Museum, and one of the main departments, the collection today boasts more than 152,800 works including costumes, accessories, and textiles from the 3rd century to the present day. The names of the greatest designers included range, from Paul Poiret, Popy Moreni, Madeleine Vionnet and Christian Lacroix.
Upcoming exhibition “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime”, from September 30, 2021 to April 24, 2022
The large-scale exhibition traces the work of the creator with the singular imagination who revolutionized fashion, Haute Couture and perfume. Includes, ready-to-wear and haute couture silhouettes and accessories, stage costumes, photographs, videos and unpublished archives, dating from 1973 to 2014.
The Yves Saint Laurent museum Paris exhibits the couturier’s body of work on the legendary premises of his former haute couture house, alternating between retrospective displays and temporary thematic exhibitions. The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris shows both the couturier’s creative genius and the process of designing an haute couture collection. Located in the hôtel particulier at 5 avenue Marceau where Yves Saint Laurent spent nearly thirty years designing his collections from 1974 to 2002.
The French couturier Yves Saint Laurent wanting to bring fashion to the masses, opened the first ready-to-wear store in 1965 and launched his Pret-Porter collection line, Rive Gauche. This was the first instance of pre- manufactured garments sold to the general public
The same building serves as the headquarters of the Foundation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent. Across 450 m2, an ever-changing rotation of retrospective displays, and temporary thematic exhibitions will present the Foundation’s rich and unique collection.
Current exhibition the exhibition “Yves Saint Laurent: Behind the scenes of Haute Couture in Lyon” will be on view from June 17 through December 5, 2021 at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent.
The Palais Galliera preserves some of the richest collections in the world. Estimated today at nearly 200,000 works (clothing, accessories, photographs, drawings…), these collections reflect the codes of clothing in France from the 18th century to the present day and are regularly the subject of numerous exhibitions in Paris, France and foreign countries.
Current exhibition: Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto
The exhibition presents the first retrospective in Paris of a unique and remarkable fashion designer: Gabrielle Chanel (1883-1971). It recounts her early beginnings with a few symbolic pieces, including the famous 1916 marinière, the sailor blouse, in jersey. The development of her famous chic style: from the little black dresses, the sporty models of the Roaring Twenties to the sophisticated dresses of the 1930s. With more than 350 pieces the collection covers almost 1500m of gallery space.
Designed by Jakob + Macfarlane the glassy green snake hangs suspended above the Seine. The Cité de la Mode et du Design sits along the Paris’s riverbanks in the 13th arrondissement. The Cité de la Mode et du Design or City of Fashion and Design is a symbol of Paris as a city eclectic, creative and in perpetual motion. Housed in a former industrial warehouse in Port de Paris, built in 1907, the building sees fashion fashionista’s from the capital pouring through its doors. The centre holds Exhibitions, installations, and performances with the view from the roof top overlooking Paris
The exhibitions are devoted to artists and designers, along with designs of students from the IFM, voted the best fashion school in France in 2015, an important reference and resource for nearly 30 years for those wanting to break into management, communications and fashion design.
The museum takes you on a historical journey of the couturier Pierre Cardin from 1950 to 2000. It includes more than 250 Haute Couture designs. The permanent collection rotates regularly the 4,000 pieces kept in the archives of the house. Cardin founded his couture house in 1950 and was a leader in innovative and futuristic designs. Taking inspiration from life he was influenced by Japan and China culture. Pierre Cardin passed away in December 2020. The museum is currently closed. He He preferred geometric shapes and motifs, and presented his first ready to wear collection in 1959 that saw him briefly expelled from the the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture.
The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. It is best known for being the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. You cannot visit the museum without seeing the most famous woman in the world. The painting that measures just 77 cm x 53 cm her influence on culture is massive.
The museum is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris and attracts over 10 million visitors each year. The collections are so vast, It is impossible to see all the exhibitions in one day. With an estimated 380,000 pieces of art inside of the Louvre, only 35,000 of them are actually out for public display.
The main entrance pyramid, added in 1980’s has become an important and recognizable part of the Parisian skyline. It is 21m high there are three smaller versions of the structure in the surrounding courtyard.
Opened in1969, President Georges Pompidou decided to provide France with a venue like no other: a centre for art that houses an international National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, a large public library, a centre for industrial creation and a centre for musical research and creation, all together in the same building situated in the heart of the Paris. For Claude and Georges Pompidou, the Centre Pompidou had to be a place where all disciplines could meet, where artists could converse with the public. It also had to support emerging scenes and introduce and provoke debate.
The museum is incredibly popular so be prepared to see large lines and long waits at the entry but it is well worth the wait with some of most extensive, innovative and creative artist exhibitions. Today, the modern and contemporary collections bring together more than 120,000 works and is one of the richest in Europe and the world.
Palais de Tokyo is the dynamic place for the artists of our time. It is also the largest center for contemporary artistic creation in all of Europe, as well as a one-of-a-kind exhibition space.
Open to all disciplines and with the ambition to explore all realms of artistic expression – from performance to fashion to arts and crafts and more – Palais de Tokyo has also developed a cultural program at the intersection of movement, sound, and language.
The Foundation Louis Vuitton comprises of a constantly evolving body of work that falls under four categories: Contemplative, Pop, Expressionist, Music & Sound.
Opened In 2006, the LVMH Group and its companies opened the Foundation Louis Vuitton museum, committed to provide contemporary arts within an historical perspective.
The building designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. A vision to create “a magnificent vessel for Paris that symbolises France’s profound cultural vocation”. Gehry took his inspiration from the lightness of late 19th-century glass and garden architecture and produced numerous models in wood, plastic, and aluminium, playing with the lines and shapes, investing his future building with a certain sense of movement.
The museum sits within an area of 846 hectares, the Bois de Boulogne, located next to the Longchamp racecourse. is a landscaped park that has 28 km of bridlepaths and 15 km of cycle-paths, containing waterfalls, lakes, and streams.
Mark a star in your diaries for every first Sunday of the month in Paris – since 2000, the city’s national museums (with the exception of the Grand Palais,) Museums including Louvre the Orsay, and other offbeat treasures like the Musée Albert Kahn) have opened their doors to the public for absolutely no charge. The initiative is incredibly popular, so it’s wise to start queueing early.
The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (HCM) has protected and regulated the industry for more than 150 years since its inception in 1868. The The Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion (HCM) is responsible for the official Paris fashion week and its fashion show schedule and calendar.
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