I have lived in Paris since 1964, and during that time most people coming up the street in blue jeans and big white sneakers were almost always Americans. Fashionistas like myself were embarrassed, which is probably why the MIA VICKY brand was the first Americans accepted in France in the Fashion World since Mainbocher. We were fashion cool, and we started selling the mini dress 1963 in NY and the wrap dress in Paris in 1968. Mia Fonssagrives and Vicky Tiel did not wear jeans and big white tennis shoes.
Women wearing dresses were always a part of Paris life, shopping and even taking their kids to school at 8 am, dresses and fabulous shoes were a way of life. Women who worked in offices would wear suits. The suit meant you earned money. Today a beggar and a millionaire are both in ripped, patched jeans, and this look will continue even when we live on Mars. Today jeans stretch and fit like skin, and they have become our second skin.
In May 1873, a San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and a tailor Jacob Davis created a work pant with rivets and named it JEANS after Genoa, Italy, where the fabric was. The rest is history and is filling our closets.
Now jeans are back worldwide in such a big way that all you see are jeans on men and women, children and even on pets and yes even in POSH PARIS. Jeans today are all prices, from as low as $30 in Monoprix and then $300 next door at Armani. Here race-car legend, Lewis Hamilton who earned 55 million dollars last year, loves his jeans as much as his fame.
The coolest Jean featured in the new La Samaritaine is the two-colored one inspired by workers who can’t afford the wear and tear, and they attach patches. Now the more odd colored patches are on your jeans, the cooler is your jeans.
Is this a French worker or a millionaire? That’s the look, and it’s also the problem? How can we judge strangers? Men are no longer wearing the Duke of Windsor look to see who is a “catch.” Women can only distinguish themselves from their assistants by their jewelry, so they need really big stones. Thé Hermès Birkin bag is so copied that it’s not a sign of wealth anymore.
Only a few people are wearing posh clothes in France and mainly on TV. Even at the Cannes Film Festival, the men are wearing casual jean chic. The Cannes film festival was where all fashion designers visited and stayed at the Carlton Hotel with their movie stars dressed. Today you can’t tell the designers from their drivers.
One of these super cool women owns a Paris building; the other one is a salesgirl. Can you tell the difference?
It’s all about the details and the accessories worn with the jeans, crazy berets, Gucci, Hermès, and Dior bags to create your own « Fashion is Art » statement.
The bi-colored jean is the future, from rags to riches.
This printed jean dress cost thousands worn by actress Marion Cotillard and the ripped jean coat worn at Cannes. Expect to see more printed jean fabric for fall.
This mini jean dress cost next to nothing. The dress and jacket will be worn by women from 16 to 61. It only requires a slim body which most French women have. I recommend mixing your jean dress look with multi-colored vintage jewelry, a beret, or a vintage men’s hat and mod thigh-high boots in jade turquoise green, the hot color for fall. Dresses can also be part jeans and part-leather or fake fur.
Thé chic, successful men in Paris, have thrown away their wool trousers and replaced them with the ironed black jean and a sweater to replace a blazer. The point is conservative dressing to show your rank is over, and the blue-jean fashion is the breakthrough to end the visual class system.
Men are dressing in jeans so tight they look like strippers, but they wear this look to their offices.
This dog is out shopping for a Jean raincoat.
Love this column Vicky! It’s been a lifetime♥️
What a great article! Love the photos, historical references and current trend analysis. Well done.