Fashion is an indicative of the world and the changes it undergoes. It often predates and goes along with society's evolutions. The 1789 Revolution sans-culottes, the gold rush jeans, the May 68 bras thrown out the window, the Islamist Revolution tchadors and burqas, the fashion industry sensors dress and undress History.

    50’s In an era when ready-to-wear didn't exist yet, tailors were considered as mere providers. It is only at the beginning of the previous century, in France, when the first models were then called sosies, that the first fashion houses run by fashion designers, men mostly, and Coco Chanel, appear. Christian Dior made the title of star fashion designer emerge, he achieved the status of a visionary artist. He personnifies the beginning of his century, and lays the foundations of a fashion industry.

    At his beginnings, he owned an art gallery that represented the young plasticians artists of his era – Giacometti, Picasso, Dali, this late borner creates at 41 his own fashion house et will be the inventor of the luxury industry business model. Shy and bossy, he

will from his very beginnings join Marcel Boussac, a manufacturer  who needed to promote his textiles plants. He immediately lauches, without performing any market study, his perfume Miss Dior,  which is until now a global success. On the screen, he surrounds himself with actresses, including Marlene Dietrich who imposes him in all her movies. They will be the ambassadors of the Dior  House and its new look in Hollywood. At the beginning of the women cause, he benefits off the stage from a network of influent women who are glad to to fight for women's rights at the sides of the one who, from 1947 to 1957, changed the face of fashion.

    The scandals that Christian Dior's collections trigger increase his celebrity. He will be faced with the right-thinking bourgeoisie schocked by the radiant and geometric abundance of the woman shaped by Dior : it will violently oppose the Avenue Montaigne fashion designer, sometimes even physically. Taking over the work of Cristobal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, and Paul Poiret, Christian Dior contributed changing the face of the world by dressing the post-war woman, growingly free. At the same time, the elitist and outdated Haute Couture is confronted to the democratic ready-to-wear born in the America. Rock music, stemming from Afro-American music, will appear in these years, along with Disneyland and McDonald's, and the rise of consumer society. Under all its form, Rock will go along with fashion of the upcoming decades.

    60’s At the beginning of the 60's, consumer society hatches, and so do ready-to-wear, fashion forecasting agencies as well as the profession of stylist. On an anonymous basis, this line worker creates designs for a new industry which has to respond to a strong demand supported by women's magazines. In this abundance era, there was room for everyone ; brands were not needed yet. A multitude of fashion houses appeared, small and big ones, with an identity as blurry as the sexuality of Sarah Moon for Cacharel's blossoming young women. The owners of these brands preferred not to display their names on the signs : they thought doing so was more " modern "than showing their names as the fashion designers used to do, and some of them with foreign-sounding names didn't find it relevant to mention their surnames. Among them was Zyga Pianko, founder of the Pierre d'Alby ready-to-wear brand.

    He hires many stylists from the 60's and 70's, such as Daniel Hechter and Sonia Rykiel, but also Agnès b. or Emmanuelle Khanh. It was then the golden age of ready-to-wear in Europe, the great time of the Sentier neighbourhood in Paris where the forced-march production takes precedence over creation and brand strategy.

It is also the starting of the hippie fashion period. Under its folkloric aspects ; quartz, soft drugs, communities life and slogans born from this " counterculture "such as small is beautiful, it contributes to the popularization of the quantum physics headways.

At the same time, in the wake of Christian Dior, his young assistants create their own ready-to-wear houses that they will name after them. They are called Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges. Though they keep on carrying out their Couture activity, they will also refer to themselves as stylists, which sounds more modern, give its nobility letters to the ready-to-wear fashion and take it to the streets. Couture soon becomes outdated.


    70’s As the heiresses of May 68, the 70's marked the peak of 30 years of post-war abundance. Even if there's still a long way to go, women have irreversibly gained a foothold in the civil society. The air of freedom and prosperity that was blowing at that time materialized in the boldness of the collections and the omnipresent colors. Styles rub without mixing : punk, hippie, disco, preppy...

Along with the Must by Cartier  experiment, with the precursor Alain-Dominique Perrin, this period heralds the time of  Bling and accessible Luxury.

Fashion houses progressively close their doors and are soon replaced by ready-to-wear shops whose stylists, owners of their eponymous brand, will soon achieve the status of Creators.

    80’s Since the 70's, France has seen the financialization of its economy stimulating consumption at the expense of its economic activity and debt. What is now known by all results in plants closures, jobs exports to Asia, cascading financial crises repeating at a fast pace. The 80's  witness a multitude of styles, the most varied ones, along with the crises in V, W, / and /// it is facing. At the beginning of the 80's, the world is living in a bubble, a financial one. It relies on money, partying, a certain idleness supported by the French employment agency that has just born, a democratization of the drugs consumption which until now was only for the elite, the onset of the first AIDS cases and a fair amount of cynism. Its aficionados are called hipsters,  the ill-informed call them  pipsters. They meet in the trendy places to be : the Studio 54 in New York, the Palace, the Sept and the Bains Douches in Paris.

    The liberal America and the New York Stock exchange have the wind in their sails. And so have lofts, industrial furniture and lamellar blinds.

    In this speculative period money talks and plunges the world of creation in a state of frenzy, fashion lives a paroxysmal era personified by a new stylists caste with overflowing inspiration and oversized ego, in need of recognition. They aspire to be the ready-to-wear fashion designers and proclaimed themselves as creators. These catwalks gods reinvent fashion shows in order to make shows in which they stage themselves, they add the music and lightings of night clubs, where they are welcomed as V.I.Ps. Their models are the new superstars. 

    Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Azzedine Alaïa, Kenzo Takada, Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier are, each one in its own way, its most talented performers. Brilliant strokes and provocation are both part of their mode of expression. Jean-Paul Gaultier mischievously sends turkeys to the editorial offices of the most renowned fashion magazines. They turn their fashion shows into eagerly anticipated events which become, thanks to the development of civil aviation, major migrations periods. The new jet set sits in the front row : the rock stars whose girlfriends are striding along the catwalk, politicians ahead of their time, fashion editors who make and break reputations while working on theirs, unstoppable – and influent for some of them - press relations officers, European buyers who galvanize this little industry more focused on itself than on financial success, Japanese and Korean

conglomerates who are their main source of income.

    And all those who jostle to be let in. The movie Wall Street (1987) from Oliver Stone is an accurate reflection of that period. In France, Bernard Tapie, the very bling and extremely mediatized businessman who dreamt of being an artist symbolizes this decade. It's the era of buyouts of almost bankrupt companies for a symbolic dollar, followed by their split sales. Which results in a substantial capital gain for the investors, and unemployment for the employees. It is the end of the French industrial sector.

    In 1987, at the end of this crazy about money period, a bored game comes up that transcends this state close to neurosis " the Airplane game"where six individuals at the bases of a virtual pyramid pay so that the one at the top wins the bonanza and leaves its place to them. The banknotes envelopes passed across Paris through fast delivery men. The last ones will find themselves the first to be laid out.

Though it had been foreshadowed long before it took place, the 19th of October 1987 crisis, or Black Monday crisis hits with full force the world and especially Japan which overnight stops subsidizing  the young Creators.

This prefigures the 2009 financial crisis. In this time marked by a fear of the future the hipsters turn their backs to the abuses and cynism of the decade in order to rediscover the true values, held so dear to the Herta sausages and the Bordeaux Chesnel rillettes.

    This change in trend is prefigured by the movie Bagdad Café (from the German director Perci Adlon in November 1987) that heralds the end of the hispsters and a return to the family and labor values.

    Out with the tycoon model coming from big industrial and financial anglo-saxon capitals. It has been replaced by the exemplary and authentic lifestyle of the first pionneers to reach the great hostile plains of the Far West. A small world made of efforts and union around the simple joys contained in the family cart. Returning to the American roots soon becomes the shared ideal of a successful life, in Paris, Nantes, or Marseille. The past, homes turn into fallback bases. A strong Far West revival, a comeback of the ancient New Frontier emerge.  This period sees an inflow in our shops of Native Americans blanket, tex-mex furniture from our brave pionneers. We swoon over Mormons, Amish and Quakers hand embroidered linens. We adorn ourselves with modest blouses. We now only swear by the iconic furniture of our ancestors, made of weathered wood or naturally seasoned leather – rocking chairs, Chesterfield couches, our grandmothers mirrors, big comfy pillows, cumbersome footstools, the good old smell of polish comes into our scared homes.

    Brunch invites itself at home, it allows friends to meet on Sunday around a late meal that offers the added advantage to combine breakfast, lunch and the kids afternoon snack. At a time marked by the struggle for life motto, sport comes roaring back with Veronique and Davina, kings of cocooning welcome their tribe in duffel sportswear that can be used for everything, comfortable and thus unelegant. At the climax of the cocooning trend, they move around with a not less unelegant black nylon backpack, so convenient when you need to cart around your whole house ;-). In the best case scenario, it is a backpack from Hervé  le Chapelier.

    As thick as a brick, boring to death, here comes cocooning. It's the great leap backward, the turning inwards. Against the violence of the economic crisis, which even communism not resist, the old values are called in reinforcements as a benchmark. Nothing is too old to reassure for one's future. The past reassures, it has become a benchmark. The word " since "gradually spreads as the certificate of origin  of a brand, a reassuring label. An anxiolytic that sustainably asleeps the creativity of fashion.

    The Since, Roots, True Values and Cocooning wave that swept from Northern America is so powerful that the immense majority of the French brands, new and old ones, opportunely mount the Tex-Mex comeback horse. Although the brand was just 9, Chevignon, a dazzlingly successful French brand targetting a young and urban audience, cannot resist the calling of Mexican decor,  or the temptation to write " Since 1979 "on its front

windows. Today, these are the same brands that use the term " Luxury ", rendering it meaningless.

    In this new economic context of cut-throat competition the Creators are replaced by more structured stylists which at the same time will gain an Artistic legitimacy. The Artistic Director, also called D.A., is born.

    It is not a coincidence that the title of artistic director comes from the world of advertising that conducted campaigns which had marked the end of the 70's and the beginning of the 80's dedicated to the passionate consumption of the goods and the beings. The previous decade also has been the one for substantial increase in the hours spent in front of the small screen because of new TV channels, democratization of the first video recorder which made us set a foot in the video on demand era, at the same time when the the first video games where released. Faced with a captured audience, communication and the media will soon play a more important role in brands identity and in the collections making process.

    One recalls the analysis of  the incredibly smart Patrick Le Lay : “basically, TF1's job is to help Coca-Cola sell their product”. The world had to move on towards the future, the new frontier was space. The conquest of new liberties as well as technology were the guarantors of a world free from war, disease, or famine. In a world resolutely oriented towards the future, the past was a handicap for brands. At the end of the 80's, with the crisis

declaring itself, the past has become a fashion trend that will permanently settle in our wardrobes and become a selling pitch.

    At the beginning of the 80's, the Italian brand Tod's, with its recent past (1978), builds itself in a sustainable way, on the myths and founding values of the U.S. East Coast. But it is by claiming its history that relies on Italian culture, and a unique craftmanship that Diego Della Valle, an undertaking founder and artistic director as unconspicuous as omnipresent, that the house  could to last and build an empire that relies on the quality of its products and creation. Just like its model, Hermès. Tod's will soon become one of the major global fashion groups, based on quality and not Luxury, as it claims it is.

    In Paris, under the charismatic leadership of Jean Louis Dumas Hermès, the family house that has never abandoned its hand-sewn traditions, the quality of its accessories and collections, and the exquisitely French way of welcoming its clients, and visitors, soon reconnects with record profits. The penniless youth under 30, by appropriating their grandparents vintage clothes and bags, paved their parents' way to the Faubourg Saint-Honoré institution.

    It is during this chaotic period, from 1984 to 89 after the construction industry professions and the real estate promotion that Bernard Arnault will rely on banks in order to buy out the Boussac group, the Dior house and le Bon Marché.

Then the financier rapidly takes control of the LVMH group which is seeking investors. At the same time, Bernard Arnault launches a takeover bid on the word Luxury which he soon appropriates in order to turn the fashion world into an extremely competitive industry. In addition to champagnes, the group now  owns the Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Céline, Berluti, Kenzo, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, DKNY... houses, distribution brands such as Sephora, La Samaritaine. As head of his houses, which autonomy he will preserve, Bernard Arnault  places carefully selected and valued artistic directors, who are often in a distressing situation. LVMH develops by buying out competing or emerging brands. Bernard Arnault spots, then manage them just as Monsieur Boussac did with his racing stables. This visionary industrial, daunting businessman, is probably the best artistic director of his Group.

    As soon as 1990 he will use art as the backbone of the group's public relation after buying the auctioneer Tajan, and the auction house Philips. The Louis Vuitton foundation, designed by Franck Gehry, will soon emerge in the bois de Boulogne. What a long road traveled since Monsieur Chistian Dior's tiny gallery in the rue La Béotie ;-)

    In 1986, the American fashion designer Ralph Lauren takes advantage of favorable cultural and economic conditions in the USA in a very risky and costly challenge, that has been postponed a hundred times by all American big brands : to settle in Paris.

Acting as an artistic director and a businessman at the same time, Mr Lauren personifies all the founding myths and virtues of a victorious and hard-working America, thanks to his numerous collections and his family. He makes France dream. Ralph Lauren makes a grand and successful entrance, place de la Madeleine, in a building in which the rents were, at that time, the highest ones in France.

    The public, young and old people, now look at the cupboards of their elders, parents and grandparents, and invent the vintage style. They will soon plebiscite the revival of old brands. By distancing themselves from a renewal in fashion creation, these worried young people dress themselves as dead people...

     Pleased by this new craze of renewed customers, Luxury houses will make the most of this opportunity in order to learn two news words they used to find coarse not so long ago : marketing and advertisement.

    90’s On the brink of collapse since the 1987's Black Monday, the world is scared, fashion splutters, repeting the past decades. Fascinated by minimalism and American and Italian marketing, the small world of fashion and its festivities fled from Paris  that

sank into depression to migrate to New York and Milan.

A Star is a complete marchandise : there's not a single centimeter of her body, a fiber of her soul, a memory of her life that can't be thrown to the market ”, Edgar Morin in. Les Stars, (Seuil publ.)

    In this context of absence of creation predating the restart of a global economy driven by the stock exchange and the real estate industry that will lead to the subprimes crisis in 2008-09, in 1990 in Milan, at Gucci which was then almost forced to close, a young Texan, last occupant of a deserted house creation, will refresh the horsebit brand's mocassins, by returning back to the trademark and cocooning basics, inspired by Tod's recent success and by the new rôle of accessories in the fashion economy. Thanks to Tom Ford, the unhibited American who hangs out with New York rappers as easily as with members of the Milanese society, fashion goes from show-off in the 70's to bling-bling. Just like he does with his collections, Tom Ford stages himself in a very talented way. His true genius lies in his extraordinary vitality. Along with his friend with Carine Roitfeld and the photographer Mario Testino, they are the inventors of the Porno Chic trend and the promoters of a new women's sexuality inspired by the gays, characterized by multiplicity and the absence of any kind of affect. Swinger clubs soon become hype places where it is good form to have a drink. This is where you meet the Parisian high society of fashion and politics.

    Right after the movie actors and models, the artistic director achieves the status of star artistic director. He exposes his life and becomes a whole part of the brand.

    From 91 to 99, François Pinault the woodsman, another professional of the building industry shows interest in finance and companies buyouts, before investing in the retail industry by buying out the Conforama retail chain to Bernard Arnault in 91. After that, he will make the acquisition of La Redoute and Le Printemps in 1992. Acting as head of the PPR Group, controlled by his holding Artémis, he will also purchase the Fnac in 1994 and Gucci, and enter in a competition on the luxury field with Bernard Arnault. He progressively gets rid of his trading activity in order to create the other French luxury group including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta... In 2007, François-Henri Pinault, his son and designated successor, purchases the sportswear brand lifestyle Puma. PPR relies on a specialized distribution network, as well as on the Internet where it had cleverly been investing since 1995. Just like his competitor, he is the owner of several important news magazines.

    Though François Pinault, an enthusiastic art collector since the 80's, is the owner of the auction house Christie's and of the Grassi Palace in Venice where he exhibits some of his contemporary works collections, there's no artistic vision of the Group's public relations strategy.

    The strength of the PPR's group lies in the Pinault's family Breton roots, in its land values that the Group suceeded putting forward by producing the environmental movie HOME from Yann Arthus Bertrand. Because Luxury is also about handing over.

    France's roaring comeback at the center of the Fashion game at the end of the 90's is the result of a successusful combination of talent and will of a handful of men and women that knew how to take advantage of the History and France and Paris more particularly, in all creative and political domains. It's the brainchild of daring captains of industry (Bernard Arnault, Jean-Louis Dumas Hermès, François Pinault) who knew how to combine the creativity of fashion and its professions with the mastering of financial instruments and capitalism. This comeback has been made possible thanks to creators that came from around the world to enrich our heritage, fascinated by France and its history. Thanks also  to the tenacity of some craftsmen like the embroiderer François Lesage who managed to keep their production workshops in France and perpetuate unique professions. Thanks again and again to the founders of the shops L’Eclaireur, Maria Luisa, joined in 1997 by Colette, as indispensable bridges that where able to convey to the French and international audience their taste for fashion and creation. All of this took place under the patient coordination since 1990 by the French Federation of Couture at the initiative of Didier Grumbach, a reserved, determined man, a lover of creation and a fierce defender of his independence.  He is from an ancient French family of textile industrials  who has worked with

the greatest fashion names. Whether in the family businesses, or for his various firms in France and abroad, at Thierry Mugler or at the French Fashion Institute, his action, far from being driven by nostalgy, has always been guided by the promotion of French contemporary creation and its future.

    In 1992, Monsieur Grumbach brings the Haute Couture back to life, the last jewel of French fashion, who had been agonizing since the end of the 60's. He sets up a guest member designation that will allow Thierry Mugler to organize a fashion show during the Haute Couture and revive the very elitist yet desperately empty agenda of  the Federation of Couture, that was as desert as the Avenue Montaigne at that period. Didier Grumbach will patiently and gently pull this fragile thread in order to bring France back to the center of interest of all stakeholders of this very particular industry. The press as well as the international buyers, tired by marketing and American and Italian minimalism, come back to Paris who soon regains its position of world capital of women's fashion. Haute Couture, with its January and July parisian fashion shows will be showcasing the global reach of French fashion and Luxury Groups, LVMH and PPR.

    The “appearances” industry, fashion, design and cosmetics,

represent a substantial part in the French economy, and because of its artistic and cultural characteristics it brings an extraordinary contribution to the reputation of France abroad. The representatives of these Luxury Groups are ranked first and sixth among the biggest French fortunes, Madame Bettancourt is ranked fourth. The Hermès family comes third and the Wertheimer, owners of Chanel, eighth. Thierry Gielder, founder of the Zadig & Voltaire brand has just got in in the circle of the 100 biggest French fortunes.    It is surprising that the French Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs never appointed as Goodwill Ambassadors those who embody best the French contemporary spirit and their industries' rôle in the French economy :  Azzedine Alaïa, Inès de la Fressange and Philippe Starck.

    Just like the others sectors of the economy, fashion has turned into a capitalistic and financial industry. The French and Italian Luxury Groups are therefore in battle order to seize a now globalized fashion market.

    2000 / 2010 Those are the bling years. Since the economy is running at full speed again, the fashion brand D.A.s become absolute stars and recruit their movies alter egos  for the press relations strategy of their brand, and of theirs. The fashion industry turns out to be the main actor of the Cannes Festival.

    Haute Couture houses move from the whispers of quiet lounges, to scandal that has become highly fashionable and also

the name of a perfume from the most secret of them. Then it's gonna be the big screen stars' turn to become artistic directors, Adjani for Lancel, Kate Moss for Longchamp, Amy Winehouse for Fred Perry, David Beckham for H&M. Victoria Beckham launches her own brand, and so does Kanye West who chooses Paris for his fashion shows, just like Zahia, a “Nana” from the 21st century backed by Karl.

    The installation of Louis Vuitton in front of the Fouquet's in former bank premises, on the left sidewalk of the most famous avenue dedicated to women and luxury the Champs-Elysées which was deserted since the end of the 80's, allowed the place to regain its place of “most beautiful avenue of the world”, at the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the monogrammed brand. The right sidewalk remaining the territory of fast fashion, fast foods, and of the suburban train exit.

    All the players of fashion and of trendy industries turn into D.A.s, and for the best of them stars : Anna Wintour, the US Vogue's boss, Carine Roitfeld, Vogue France's chief editor that she set back on the track turns herself into a physical medium for the products. As well as Alain Ducasse, inventor of the Haute Cuisine who runs an empire of 20 restaurants, he is the professional and economic landmark for the new chefs generation. The Louvre museum is not outdone by this trend, and opens a branch in Abu Dhabi. Carlos Ghosn at Renault, becomes the living god of executives perfumed by Hugo Boss. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is the symbol of young

people who want to become millionaires before they hit 30, without having to work, just by raising money from investment funds, thanks to a business plan. We are thrown in the pre-Black Monday 80's, at the era of the “Airplane Game”. Nicolas Sarkozy is the omnipresident, an extraordinary showman, who, just like Tom Ford cannot deny his taste for trophies an  bling style. In order to stay young and productive for as long as possible, they eat organic food, are very careful about their physical appearance, and live in Alexandre Allard's palace and move around in private jets and limos.

At that time, quantum mathematics, which emerged at the beginning of the former century become the dominant thinking on which lay the speech and policy of brands.

This is when emerging brands make their appearance. With two collections a year, they share the same business model than Luxury houses : deliveries produced in countries where labor and textile are cheaper, but without renouncing to quality when possible, distribution through a network of shops owned by them where they make two-figure profits in order to invest in their press relations, expand their collections and multiply the number of their outlets. They are forerun by  Zadig & Voltaire, which will quickly be followed by Sandro, Maje, The Kooples, Vanessa Bruno, Isabelle Marant and Jérôme Dreyfuss. Thanks to their style and their press relations strategy, they successfully managed to create a strong emotional relationship with their clients.

They also claim they are from the affordable Luxury family.

    In the USA, emerging contemporary brands, such as Alexander Wang, Haider Ackermann,  Marc Jacob, or Phillip Lim carry out deliveries to their shops once a month, in addition to the fashion show collections.

    Let's also mention the two major players of fast fashion, Zara and H&M, wwhich owe their success to a smart mix of mass-market techniques backed by sharp logistics and a press relations strategy inspired by the Luxury sector. Their styling offices are located all around the world in order to have a better anticipation the markets demands.

    They partially restock the deliveries to their shops once or twice a week and use the same features than luxury houses : lengthy collections which are most the time widely inspired by the ones that has just been seen on the catwalks, capsule collections by celebrities or famous D.A.s (Sonia Rykiel, Karl Lagerfeld) and global advertisement campaigns featuring top models and famous people. They share an important number of clients with Luxury Groups and emerging brands. These competiting propositions has brought the major houses to invest in creation and release 6 to 8 collections a year : the fashion show collection, a pre-collection or cruise collection delivered at the beginning of the serason prior to the big collection, plus one or two intermediary collections delivered in the 3 or 4 following months, just before the sales period. In addition to the Couture collection,

for those who present one.

    Not mentioning their Men's collections when they have. Along with as accessories and Kids collections which are becoming more and more important in the long-term brands strategy. In order to satisfy and surprise its clientele, Chanel presents 12 collections a year.

   All these houses now aim at the new generation that know their names and communication modes since its very childhood. It is via their lookalikes, celebrities' daughters and sons and it girls that luxury brands have been acting like on social networks  that the big Luxury groups have target a new generation who is under 25: the Baby.

    They get to the labour market and will soon take power as their purchasing power increases. They have great influence on their parents. They are tomorrow's clients of the fashion industry that well knows it won't be easy to capture them once and for all. Brands are gods who stand on fragile feet.

    The Baby has learnt how to read and write on computers, he gets information on the Internet where Facebook and social

networks buzz, which is the rumour of older times. He will live in a new world where the Internet, Asia, and the conquest of civil liberties led by women will play a decisive rôle. A Baby is not scared about the future for the future belongs to him, and he will no longer accept the codes that luxury brands have been proposing since he was born. A new speech, new brands, are appearing. These newly born brands, corresponding to the Babybrand model, are produced locally for an eco-responsible local market. Promoted via the Internet, they are also distributed all around the world by air couriers, such as DHL.