This Sunday, marks the anniversary of Bastille Day, the day citizens victoriously stormed the Paris Bastille in 1789, at the outset of the French Revolution + what better way to commemorate this revolution than remembering another kind of French revolution. This one however, took place in Versailles 1973 + it was the American fashion designers that victoriously stormed Versailles, changing the world of fashion forever (Below are images + stills from the documentary ‘Versailles 73’).
The Versailles fashion show was a charity event, where American sportswear slapped the French with their version of ‘white gloves’ to the face, emblazoned with attitude, glitz, drama + Seventies excess. The cultural battle between the French + Americans was something fierce for quite some time, but, how the Americans set the runway ablaze was in ways that fashion never saw before. Besides not having any sets, which resulted in using celebrities including Liza Minnelli (below) + resorting to the big personalities of a lot of the models including model Pat Cleveland + her legendary walk (below with Oscar de la Renta), the Americans casted mostly African-American models for their show, which pushed racial diversity to the forefront for fashion shows to come.
Just imagine – ‘At this corner, representing the French designers are Marc Bohan for Dior, Pierre Cardin, Emmanuel Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent and Hubert de Givenchy + at the other corner, representing the American designers are Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein and Stephen Burrows.’
The French models gave you predictability, so tightly wound you could almost hear the yawns. Yet, the Americans, gave you a peek into the modern lens of fashion with a show full of vitality + the joie de vivre the French are so fond of.
If you haven’t seen it already, watch ‘Versailles 73’ this Sunday, but be sure to have enough chilled bottles of champagne on hand, along with long, skinny cocktail cigarettes, to set the mood just right.
(via National Post)