Tokyo Fashion Week
Milan, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
FASHION DESIGN CAPITALS
Most major countries have their own fashion industry, including Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, India,
The Netherlands, Australia, Germany and Poland. Only five nations however, have truly established real
International reputations in fashion design. These countries are France, the United Kingdom, The United
States of America, Italy and Japan.
French Fashion Design
Most of the French fashion houses are in Paris which is the capital of French fashion. French fashion is
traditionally very chic and stylish. It is defined by its sophistication, cut, and smart accessories. Among
the most well known Parisian Couture Houses are Chanel and Christian Dior, who present exclusive
fashion shows in their salons. Other French designers display their work at the designer collection shows
held twice each year.
British Fashion Design
The majority of British fashion houses are based in London. Whereas French design is considered the
highest standard of style and fashion for women’s clothing, London is seen as the pinnacle of fashion
design for men(Savile Row in Particular). British fashion houses are associated with very traditional,
British style. It is typically elegant but with conservative cuts using fine yet not overly extravagant
materials. British fashion has a sort of noble if not ‘imperial’ elegance such as that of traditional ‘Fifties
debutantes gowns’. The first known fashion designer was Charles Worth, a native a Britain who made his
name in Paris during the 19th century.
In the 1920’s, Norman Hartnell was the leading British designer. In the 1960’s, Mary Quant, “The High
Priestess of fashion” gave the world the short mini skirt, Hot Pants and Paint Box Makeup. Other popular
British designers include Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Stella
McCartney, Mathew Williamson, Luella Bartley, Sir Hardy Aims, Christopher Baily, Bruce Oldfie and
American Fashion Design
The majority of American fashion houses are based in New York, although a significant number of them
also reside in Los Angeles where a substantial percentage of clothing manufactured in the U.S. is actually
made. There are also a number of fashion houses in Chicago, which was once a center of American
American Fashion is dominated by a clean-cut, casual style, reflecting the athletic, health-conscious
lifestyles of many American city-dwellers.
Claire McCardell was one designer who helped set the trend in the U.S. for sport – influence day wear
throughout the 1940’s and 50’s. Many of her designs have resurfaced in recent decades. More modern
influences on the American look have been Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Uriel Zaena, Anna
Sui, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Kenneth Cole.
Italian Fashion Design
Most of the older couturiers reside in Rome but Milan, Italy is the fashion capital of the world because
it is base to most of the well-known designers and the exhibition center for their collections. Italian
fashion features casual elegance and luxurious fabrics. Salvatore Ferragamo, the first Italian Luxury
brand, has exported exquisite hand-made shoes to the U.S. since the 1920’s. Gucci is the greatest selling
Italian fashion brand with world wide sales over 7 billion annually. Among the best-known exclusive Italian
fashion labels are Valentino(“Rosso Valentino” [Red Valentino] line), Gianfranco, Ferre, Giorgio Armani,
Gucci, Gianni Versace, Fendi and Dolce & Gabanna.
Italian: Milano is one of the largest cities in Italy, located in the plains of Lombardy. The municipality has
a population of 2.9 million. Milan is renowned as one of the worlds capitals of fashion and design. The
English word milliner is derived from the name of the city itself. The metropolis is famous for its fashion
houses and shops(such as along Via Montenapoleone) and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza
Duomo (said to be the oldest shopping mall in the world).
Most of the older Italian couturiers are in Rome. Milan however, is the Italian and world fashion capital
because it is base to most of the well-known designers and is the exhibition venue for their collections.
Italian fashion features casual elegance and luxurious fabrics. The first Italian luxury brand was Salvatore
Ferragamo. Amongst the best known Italian fashion names are Rosso Valentino, Gianfranco Ferré,
Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versaci, Prada, Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana.
Per BusinessWeek.com, Gucci is the greatest-selling Italian fashion brand with world-wide sales of
7.158 billion dollars.
Japanese Fashion Design
Most Japanese fashion houses are in Tokyo. The Japanese look is loose and unstructured which is often
the result of very complicated cutting techniques used by Japanese designers. Colors tend to be somber
and subtle with richly textured fabrics. Some of the well known Japanese designers are Kenzo, Issey
Miyake (masterful drape and cut), and Rei Kawakubo, who developed a new way of cutting (comparable
to Madeline Vionnet’s innovation in the 1930’s).
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