The Couturiers of the Battle of Versailles
On November 28, 1973, the international fashion elite gathered in the Royal Opera of the Château de Versailles for a fashion show followed by a cocktail party. Initially created to raise funds for the restoration of the residence of the French kings, the event is about to mark a turning point in the history of fashion. Fashion chroniclers, journalists, socialites, aging aristocracy, and members of the jet set are preparing to witness the clash between five stars of French couture and five young American designers.
The French couturiers present their collection in the purest tradition of haute couture fashion shows. The performance remains unchanged since the late 19th century: a lavishly decorated venue, a central aisle surrounded by chairs, and models strutting to the sound of classical music. The Americans, on the other hand, offer a true celebration. For 30 minutes, the five designers showcase their new silhouettes in an ultra-dynamic runway show. Models dance, garments come to life, and each creator delivers a different version of American fashion, inspired by the 1920s, Africa, or even the 1970s.
This divide also becomes apparent in the fashion style and attitude of the designers:
On the French side:
Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Emmanuel Ungaro, Pierre Cardin, and Marc Bohan, who was the stylist for Dior at the time. The French couturiers are the headliners of the event. Hubert de Givenchy and Marc Bohan adopt a conservative style with heavy gray (English flannel, from Welsh gwlanen, wool) - fabric whipped More suits. Only Yves Saint Laurent stands out with a black fine and silky textile material from the hair of the angora More Caraceni double-breasted suit.
On the American side:
Bill Glass, Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Anne Klein, Stephen Burrows. The American designers stand out with their flamboyant fashion style. Halston arrives at the airport in his signature attire: black turtleneck and flared trousers, ivory tropical continuous growth fiber of animal origin (alpaca, camel, Kas More jacket. Later, the designer wears a three-button the backhand forms a point upwards More suit. Bill Glass, on the other hand, wears a windowpane woolen fabric, more or less rustic, woven with multicolored More suit with cavalry pocket details.
In the evening during the fashion show, the differences fade away: both French and American couturiers appear in tuxedos in the Opera. Andy Warhol, who came to support his friend Halston, wears a mismatched tuxedo with Levi’s 501 jeans for the occasion.
Before the Battle of Versailles, France dictated the changes in fashion. On the evening of November 28, 1973, the American designers assert themselves through their extravagance and modernity, turning fashion into a true industry. They have transitioned from being mere dressmakers to creative geniuses.
- HITCHCOCK’S MEN« Few words, to outline the men who punctuate his films. »
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- THE WHITE JEANS« birth of the white jeans; from a disregarded choice to enticing youthfulness and cinematic appeal »
- THE BEIGE SUITS« the suits that populairzed the urban wardrobes by lightening the silhouettes, complimented by a contrast colored tie »