Celebrating Style: The History of Fashion Week

From the salons of Paris to the streets of New York, we give you the evolution of one legendary event.

Most Popular
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

1. The Chic Capital, 1858

Fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth started showing clients a pre-prepared selection of original designs in Paris, forming the idea of a collection. He shocked his audiences by presenting his clothing on real, live women, thus creating the role of models. These "fêtes" continued throughout the 20th century, bringing in elements of staging and music.

Most Popular

2. Across the Pond, 1903

To gain interest from female shoppers, a New York City shop called Ehrich Brothers put on what's thought to be America's first fashion show. Within years, many big department stores were holding shows of their own, drawing inspiration from the idea of "fashion parades" done in Paris couture salons.

3. And So It Begins, 1943

Up until this point, American designers had been thought to rely on the French for inspiration. When World War II made it unable for the industry's elite to travel to Paris, Eleanor Lambert launched the first "Press Week," to showcase American designers. This led fashion journalists to cover more domestic designers.

4. Save the Date, 1944

Soon after, Ruth Finley launched the first Fashion Calendar, compiling all of the week's events into one comprehensive guide. This brought together all facets of the fashion and beauty industries, including buyers, manufacturers, designers, and editors around a single itinerary.

5. An Art Form, 1962

As Fashion Week grew, the importance of fashion design grew in the United States. Lambert continued to revolutionize the industry when she formed the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which furthered fashion's position as a recognized branch of American art and culture and supported the growth of American fashion in the world's economy.

6. Now Trending, 1975

Designers continued showcasing their collections twice a year in September and Feburary in an event that would eventually become known as New York Fashion Week. Other cities caught on, with Milan starting its own fashion week in 1975 and London following in in 1984.

7. Bigger and Better, 1994

Previously, the fashion shows were held at various locations including hotels, lofts, galleries, nightclubs, and restaurants, until a loft ceiling collapsed during a show, calling for an upgrade. The event was moved to Bryant Park, introducing its famous white tents, exclusive invites, A-list celebrity sightings, and big sponsors like Mercedes-Benz. The event got so large that it was then moved to Lincoln Center in 2010.

8. Fast Forward, 2014

Today, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week remains one of the most important weeks of the year for those in the fashion industry, as well as for those who are simply fashion-obsessed. With increasing technology, anyone can watch live streams of certain shows and gain access to the backstage action with just a scroll through their social media feeds.

Related:


Two-Piece Wonder: The History of the Bikini


Pucker Up: The History of Red Lipstick


Stay Shady: The History of Sunglasses


Telling Talons: The History of the Manicure

Photo Credit: Getty Images, last two photos courtesy of Kathryn Wirsing

Fashion
Share
Swap Your ____ for ____: 3 Ways to Update Your Hat Game This Summer
Fashion
Share
Behold: The Very Bodycon Outfit Kim Kardashian Wore in Cuba
Fashion
Share
7 Mid-Party Emergencies and How to Fix Them
Created for Coach
GIF
Fashion
Share
15 Barely-There Lingerie Sets Perfect for A/C Weather
Fashion
Share
86 Photos That Prove Rihanna Can Wear Literally Anything
Fashion
Share
Kylie Jenner Makes a Case for Wearing Your Coziest Sweatpants in Public
Fashion
Share
This Women- and Tech-Led Swimwear Line Is Everything
Fashion
Share
'The Good Wife's Costume Designer on How the Show Changed the Way Women Dress
Fashion
Share
These Awesome New Notification Rings Are the End of Your Bad Cell Phone Etiquette
Created for Toyota
Fashion
Share
Everything You Need to Know About Chanel's Historic Cuba Show