An innovative history of the fashion industry, focusing on the connections between Paris and New York, art and finance, and design and manufacturing.
Fashion is one of the most dynamic industries in the world, with an annual retail value of $3 trillion and globally recognized icons like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent. How did this industry generate such economic and symbolic capital?
Focusing on the roles of entrepreneurs, designers, and institutions in fashion’s two most important twentieth-century centers, Paris to New York tells the history of the industry as a negotiation between art and commerce. In the late nineteenth century, Paris-based firms set the tone for a global fashion culture nurtured by artistic visionaries. In the burgeoning New York industry, however, the focus was on mass production. American buyers, trend scouts, and designers crossed the Atlantic to attend couture openings, where they were inspired by, and often accused of counterfeiting, designs made in Paris. For their part, Paris couturiers traveled to New York to understand what American consumers wanted and to make deals with local manufacturers for whom they designed exclusive garments and accessories. The cooperation and competition between the two continents transformed the fashion industry in the early and mid-twentieth century, producing a hybrid of art and commodity.
Véronique Pouillard shows how the Paris–New York connection gave way in the 1960s to a network of widely distributed design and manufacturing centers. Since then, fashion has diversified. Tastes are no longer set by elites alone, but come from the street and from countercultures, and the business of fashion has transformed into a global enterprise.
Véronique Pouillard has written a fascinating and important book. Her impressive research makes the history of the business come alive.
Rich in its scholarship and highly topical in its conclusions, Paris to New York takes a fresh perspective on the relationship of these key cities in fashion’s modern history. It illustrates that the links between two distinctive and powerful cultures produced a creative and entrepreneurial dynamic that defined how one of the world’s most important industries has developed. As the fashion industry faces further challenges and transformations in the twenty-first century, Pouillard provides a fascinating overview of the structures and practices that have brought us to this point.
Comparisons and connections abound in this important look at the Paris and New York fashion nexus. From Paris’s lead to New York’s growth, from Vionnet’s dresses for the happy few to Dior’s lipstick and YSL’s scarves marketed to a wider ‘crowd,’ Véronique Pouillard astutely explains how design snitching and copyright battles, the right mix of creativity and finance, along with that je ne sais quoi of design form the backstory to the runway and the clothes it venerates.
A fluidly written and compelling narrative of the business of fashion in the last century…Essential reading for anyone interested in the interrelationship between the French and American fashion industries.
Traces how fashion design and consumption interacted with global political and economic developments throughout WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII…While this book is firmly rooted in business history, urban historians will nonetheless find insights into how Paris and New York were made into fashion and design capitals…This book gets at some of the more elusive forces behind the fashion industry that differentiate it from other manufacturing sectors, shedding light into the black box of style and design that dictates the volatility of the clothing industry.
A compelling history of the industry from the origins of haute couture to the new realm of fast fashion and luxury business…Business historians will find this transatlantic history of fashion highly stimulating…Tracing the interplay between French and American fashion systems over the course of the twentieth century, with the support of varied sources and powerful figures, this book clearly details the path of the luxury fashion industry as well the dynamics of interaction between design and capitalism.
This history of culture as an evolving history of business innovation and strategy is the subject of Véronique Pouillard’s Paris to New York, and one she recounts with considerable knowledge and value.
- 336 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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