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The Timeless Allure of French Design: Elinor Coleman’s Vintage Mirage

French fashion designers are recognisable for their innovative styling, detailed workmanship and classic looks that transcend the ages. For me and Vintage Mirage, the love affair begins in the 20th century. This blog will present pieces from Chanel, Yves St Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Elsa Schiaparelli, Emanuel Ungaro and Christian Lacroix for now. Of course, there are many other designers who create wonderful looks. You cannot go wrong investing in pieces from the French fashion houses and designers, since the items will last and can be interspersed throughout your overall wardrobe. Yes, add an item of French design to your look- from blue jeans and leggings to formal gala outfits and operatic openings or dinners- the overall statement will be glamorised by this juxtaposition. Wearing a single piece of these designers can jazz up your wardrobe and add flair and uniqueness to your overall look

Coco Chanel is a very recognisable designer, because of the classic styles, the double over placed C’s and the panache with which she lived and worked in Paris. The perfume, multi-strand pearl necklace and scarf is iconic. Many books and exhibits have been written or presented about Coco in the context of WWI – WWII, up to today. Chanel black leather caviar purses are sturdy, timeless, elegant and practical. The detail of the leather strip wound through the chain serves as a strong anchor for wearing the purse on your shoulder. Who can resist the appliquéd double C’s. The eyeglasses are distinctive and elegant with white frames. Did you know that Coco’s seamstress designed the European or Western version of the ancient Tibetan wrap dress (and bias cut spiral dress) in the 1930’s? Major fabric innovations followed these dresses just as WWII finished. This paved the way for Diane Von Furstenberg to then innovate additional changes to the wrap dress. Yves St Laurent was such a romantic and innovator, who introduced to women the tuxedo and pyjama trouser fashion. Presented here is the gold tone cut out red crystal butterfly pin. Yves was from Morocco, and now his estate has established a wonderful garden and design museum, in Marrakesh, open to the public. The large wool scarf has a marble, or wood grain pattern which includes magenta, pink and burgundy colours- large enough to wear as a shawl or rolled up in the Parisian method to be wound around the neck- to protect against the harsh winds of Paris’s streets. Such a scarf is a quintessential Paris style, with the pattern to the edge. Elsa Schiaparelli was a contemporary designer of Coco Chanel with an atelier in Paris, during WWI-WWII up to today. Recently published works depict her distinctive style, professional life, political intrigue, not widely known here in America. Her brand was recently purchased by an Italian fashion  house. The design of hats and costume jewelry show modern contemporary geometric lines with interesting materials. The red cashmere hat shows practical lines mixed with unexpected geometry. The hat almost appears to be based upon a brimless men’s hat or military helmet. The jewelry of gold tone and blue cabochon links-necklace & pin. Christian Lacroix is currently creating jewelry, clothing and purses with fun motifs. Many museums have pieces from this designer, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The fashion jewelry pieces are distinctive with gold tones, cut out work and natural subjects such as suns, flowers and masks. It is easy to add one of Lacroix’s pins to a jacket or blouse for flair. Pierre Cardin created classic clothing, purses, uniforms, jewelry and scarves- all very timeless in their design, shape and fabric- which could be worn in combinations and as accent pieces for an outfit. Cardin created space age designs of uniforms, helmets and goggles, bringing glamour to utilitarian items with fun and flair. His efforts to license out his designs for production – sunglasses, goggles and accessories created a futuristic business model that is still used today. The tan, silk shawl has black motifs and lines interspersed with orange splotches. Measuring 44 inches by 70 inches, it presents a unique take on the traditional Hermes silk square scarf, which had most design elements inside the border.

So, as you can see with these pictures and short comments on French designers, you can have great, glamorous looks just by adding one piece to your outfit! There are further examples of contemporary fashion designer blogs to share, so stay tuned!

Visit us here at Vintage Mirage to see, try on, feel and accessorise your wardrobe with these pieces from France! Happy Consignment Shopping!

Elinor Coleman

Vintage Mirage

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