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Gaultier to Louboutin: Style & Strategy in French Fashion

Paris College of Art via Kadenze


This 4-session survey course covers the main designers in Parisian Fashion from the 1990s to today, focusing closely on one iconic creative individual for each decade. Their work is discussed in light of the cultural and political context of the time, which students learn about through video lectures, assigned readings and discussions. In addition to learning about specific designers and key sartorial techniques and trends, students learn about the main phenomena in the fashion business for each decade. Students are shown how the past influences and shapes the present.

The first session focuses on the 1990s, globalization, and the designers Jean-Paul Gaultier and Issey Miyake. The second session highlights four top Anglophone designers: Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. The third session summarizes the main changes in business models and the arrival of large luxury conglomerates at the beginning of the century. It also features Christian Louboutin as a designer. The final session is devoted to students’ final presentations and projections about the next developments in technology, business models and media.

In addition to weekly quizzes on designers and techniques, students are required to complete readings and participate in weekly online discussions and the course culminates with a personal research project in which students use primary sources to research the influence of French fashion on a contemporary designer of their own choosing.

Taught by

Donald Potard


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