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Move over Paris: why London is France’s new fashion capital

So you think this season’s trends are only to be found on Paris' Rue de Rivoli or rue Saint-Honoré? Not any longer: Marks & Spencer is flying the flag as the home of British fashion in France, with their new Look of London collection.

Move over Paris: why London is France's new fashion capital
Marks & Spencer
That London is one of the world’s most fashion-conscious cities is hardly news. The capital that was ‘swinging’ in the 60s has always retained its reputation as a centre of style, with best-selling brands that seamlessly combine an original mix of British heritage and cosmopolitan influence. 
 
There’s always plenty to see in London, from the sights and sounds of the diverse neighbourhoods to the street style that creates a catwalk around every corner. So imagine taking a tour of the city and shopping the London looks without even the need to travel. 
 
Now this is possible as Marks & Spencer, founded in the UK over 125 years ago, brings the best of London style direct to customers in France at www.marksandspencer.fr
 
In its Look of London collection, Marks & Spencer takes inspiration from a pick of well-known London hotspots. It includes everything needed to achieve a complete hip vintage look, a relaxing weekend away or a chic evening out on the town – wherever you are. 
 
The working week – Trafalgar Square
From soft tailoring and chic pencil skirts for her, to sharp suits for him, find your perfect weekday wardrobe to get back to business in style.
We love this Cotton Rich Concealed Fastening Shirt.

Day to night – Covent Garden 
Sleek separates are perfect for the busy city lifestyle, giving you a versatile look to take you from day to night.
We love this Animal Print Mac with Belt.

Afternoon with friends – Notting Hill 
Be inspired by London street style with on-trend day dresses in graphic prints that will see you through lunch, shopping and cocktails.
We love this Striped & Colour Block Maxi Dress.

Shopping trip – Spitalfields
Find your perfect look for shopping in one of the fashion capitals of the world – think laid-back casuals in the season’s key shades, completed with must-have accessories.
We love this Bohemian Cover-Up Top.

The weekend – Soho
When you want to escape the buzz of the city, make it a stylish getaway with these flattering and easy-to-wear designs.
We love this Pure Cotton Pintuck Tunic Dress.

 
Article sponsored by Marks & Spencer.

FASHION

Paris exhibition celebrates 100 years of French Vogue

A new exhibition in Paris will tell the story of 100 years of French Vogue - from the post-war 'New Look' of Christian Dior through the sexual liberation of the 1960s to the dangling-cigarette waifs of the 2000s.

French Vogue celebrates 100 years
French Vogue celebrates 100 years. Photo: Thomas Olva/AFP

But as well as celebrating the magazine’s storied history, the exhibit comes at a time of turbulence for the publication.

Just last month, it was confirmed that its editor of 10 years, Emmanuelle Alt, was out and wouldn’t be replaced.

She was not alone.

Looking to cut costs, owner Conde Nast International has axed editors across Europe over the past year, and put international Vogue editions under the direct control of global editorial director, Anna Wintour, in New York.

New York-based Anna Wintour now has overall control of French Vogue. Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

Like much of the media industry, Vogue is struggling with tumbling sales and ad revenue in the digital era.

But the latest twist is also part of the endless push and pull between New York and Paris going back to its early days.

“The whole history of French Vogue is one of back-and-forth with Conde Nast in New York – growing more independent for a while, then being reined back in,” said Sylvie Lecallier, curator of the new exhibition, “Vogue Paris 1920-2020″, which opened this weekend after a year’s delay due to the pandemic.

The Paris edition was often the loftier, more bohemian sibling to its more hard-nosed New York version.

But it was also the hotbed in which much of 20th century style and womenhood came to be defined.

“Paris was the place to hunt out talent and content and bring it to New York,” said Lecallier.

The exhibition charts the evolution from art deco drawings of the 1920s through the erotic image-making of photographers like Helmut Newton in the 1960s and 1970s.

Its last peak was under editor Carine Roitfeld in the 2000s, who brought back a provocative Gallic identity by ridding the newsroom of foreign staff and becoming a fashion icon in her own right.

Her successor, Alt, was a quieter presence, though she still oversaw key moments including its first transgender cover star, Brazilian Valentina Sampaio, in 2017.

But internet culture has created “a perfect storm” for Vogue, says media expert Douglas McCabe of Enders Analysis.

“The first 80 years of Vogue’s life, it had the market to itself, it was the bible for fashion,” McCabe told AFP.

“But online today, there are so many other ways to get your information. Influencers, Instagram, YouTube — everyone’s a threat.”

In a world where new fashion trends can blow up around the world in seconds, it has become much harder for a monthly magazine to set the pace.

“It’s not that they can’t survive for another 100 years — but they will be differently sized,” McCabe said.

Vogue has tried to branch out into different areas, including events.

“I used to work for a magazine, and today I work for a brand,” Alt said on the eve of French Vogue’s 1,000th issue in 2019.

But the big money was always in print, and Vogue Paris sales are dropping steadily from 98,345 in 2017 to 81,962 to 2020, according to data site ACPM.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the new top job in Paris, redefined as “head of editorial content”, went to Eugenie Trochu, who was key to building the magazine’s online presence.

She declared herself “thrilled to be part of Vogue’s international transformation”.

For the curator of the exhibition, it is ironic timing.

“We had no idea it would end like this when we started work on the exhibition,” said Lecallier.

“Who knows where it will go from here.”

The exhibition Vogue Paris 1920-2020 is at the Palais Galliera in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. The gallery is open 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday and is closed on Mondays. Tickets for the exhibition are €14 (€12 for concessions and under 18s go free) and must be reserved online in advance. 

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