Across Hollywood the world’s superstars are at the height of fashion. Women want to dress like Jennifer Lawrence.
Men want to be the next David Beckham or Ryan Gosling. But whilst the trends may be being set on the streets of LA and New York, the designs, well they’re a little closer to home.
Since fashion came into the public consciousness, Europe has been the market leader, changing the way we dress, and revolutionising the way we see staple items.
Most of the world’s biggest fashion houses hail from Europe. Paul Smith comes straight out of Nottingham. Giorgio Armani the outskirts of Milan. Vivienne Westwood dreamt of fashion out a bedroom window in the small market town of Glossop, Derbyshire, a far cry from the King’s Road, never mind Rodeo Drive.
The continent has pioneered fashion movements, and with it has created iconic pieces. London Fashion Week is always awash with European designers. Levi Strauss was German, using the denim material of Nimes. The mini-skirt started with Mary Quant. The little black dress has its roots tied to Coco Chanel and Jean Patou.
And the same applies to accessories. Pharrell’s infamous Buffalo hat is classic Westwood, whilst classic timepieces have deep-lying associations with Switzerland and Scandinavia. Omega has its origins in the former alongside Tag Heuer, and Swatch, whilst Lars Larsen and Skagen operate out of Denmark. Skagen mens watch design, alongside those in Switzerland have helped develop a classic look which has been transported worldwide putting Europe on the map when it comes to watches.
Europe’s dominance isn’t hard to see and you only have to look at how the likes of the suit has developed over the years to see the continent’s influence. Widely regarded to have evolved from the British regency period, fashion houses have tampered with it vastly over the last 50 years, creating iconic cuts, and some of the most talked about outfits of generations.
The 1970s saw huge popstars like Bryan Ferry and then later Duran Duran resurrected the suit, with renowned suit-maker Anthony Price, exchanging traditional cuts to make the suit sexy. And that has continued right through to today.
It had influence just as Armani had decades before, bringing Italian tailoring and culture into popular culture and the mainstream with the Mods such as the Who and Small Faces favouring the more relaxed Italian fit, enabling them to ride the iconic scooters. That eventually transferred across to America, and Europe was influencing once more.
That is still happening today. Down the red carpet, Armani, Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld are all names regularly answered when the inevitable “who are you wearing?” question comes.
Fashion has a lot to thank Europe for. And long may it continue…