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The earliest history of fashion shows remains obscure. In the 1800s, "fashion parades" periodically took place in Paris couture salons. American retailers imported the concept of the fashion show in the early 1900s.

The first American fashion show took place in 1903 in New York City.

By 1910, large department stores such as Wanamaker's in New York City and Philadelphia were also staging fashion shows. These events showed couture gowns from Paris, or the store's copies of them. They aimed to demonstrate the owners' good taste and capture the attention of female shoppers.

By the 1920s, retailers across the United States held fashion shows. Often, these shows were theatrical, presented with narratives, and organized around a theme. These shows enjoyed huge popularity through mid-century, sometimes attracting thousands of customers and gawkers.

In the 1970s and 1980s, American designers began to hold their own fashion shows in private spaces apart from such retailers.

Today, fashion shows are usually also filmed and appear on specifically assigned television channels or even in documentaries.

It is unlikely that the hat will ever die as an accessory as it offers far too much potential for drawing attention to the face.

Fashion designers are aware of this and every so often exploit this fact in the hope that fashion followers will adopt the hat. In the world of logos, branding and status symbols, the hat is an easy and usually less costly item to purchase from a design house and can make them a great deal of money if a particular item catches the imagination of the public.

Hats, or other hair designs when worn today are either worn for a special dressy occasion such as a wedding or conversely as casual statement attire in the way that caps might be worn the wrong way around. Functional hats are still used by uniformed workers for corporate identity or protection as well as by many individuals in inclement weather.

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