With haute couture and prêt-à-porter, fashion is the quintessential expression of French style and creativity. For five of the last six years, Francophilia Foundation has produced a fashion show that has served as a fundraiser to send a young designer or model to a Francophone country where they can further their professional and artistic development.
TRANSITION: PATTERNS OF FRENCH FASHION is a retrospective wink to three iconic French couturiers whose visionary work paved the way for revolutionary changes not only in our wardrobe, but also, in the way we live. To this day, despite controversial elements surrounding their fame, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent are still viewed as pioneers whose creativity elevated fashion from the rank of craftsmanship to that of art. Whether it be the emancipation of women or the implementation of diverse canons of beauty, this Trinity of talents is synonymous with effortless chic, beyond Paris, beyond time, beyond gender.
From unconventional to classic types, "Greeks" to freaks, athletes, twins, couples, artists, seniors, flâneurs, bohemians, etc., BEAUTE: 1000 FACES FOR FRANCE wants you.
At the intersection of art and ethnography, this project, a medium to showcase Louisiana's diversity and its connection to France and the French-speaking world, will culminate in a bilingual art publication featuring 1000 portraits of modern day Louisiana's residents..
WPS 2014 Model Search and Fashion Show celebrated Lutetia’s legendary chic. Its falsely improvised elegance, its nearly provocative grace, and its cosmopolitan ease are not merely the product of a city on the move, but mainly a way to show a definite longing – or shall we call it a raison d’être – for a mythical art de vivre which, in these times of cultural uniformity, defies all stereotypes. When the Renaissance hotel lobby turns into the Elysian Fields to the tune of a familiar song, there comes to mind Josephine Baker’s voice, only to remind us that, much like her, we all have two loves: our country and Paris.
To pay tribute to iconoclast Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971) whose revolutionary work freed her female counterparts from the sartorial dictatorship imposed upon them by men, six emerging Louisiana designers have been invited to present their first collections at the prestigious Louisiana State Museum. As echoes to their creations, three local photographers will have their work projected inside the lobby during the reception. Drawing inspiration from the quintessential “garçonne" look, the tweed suit, the pearl necklace and the comfortable striped tops, all artists propelled us into a world of equality between the sexes, in which each borrows from the other with moderation and without gaudiness, along balanced and tailor-made lines aiming at beauty and luxury. Keeping in mind one of her most provocative aphorisms - “one can get used to ugliness, never to negligence”- it is our hope that these six designers will continue to be “cocomaniacs,” eager at all cost to celebrate the woman as much as the man she bears or wears.
In extension of, and parallel to, the retrospective exhibit at The Petit Palais in Paris, spearheaded by Pierre Bergé, our show served mainly as a tribute to Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), and to his genius as a couturier and a visionary artist as much as to his staunch commitment to using fashion as a vehicle for social progress for women. Borrowing not only from some of his signature pieces like the unisex safari jacket, the tuxedo suit for women, or even his legendary fragrance, Paris, our selection also drew its inspiration from YSL’s art-based collections, his love for the vibrant colors of his native Mediterranean origins and his definitely modern propensity for unrivalled scenography. YSL’s talent worked its unique magic on us; and its impeccable style and aesthetics provided our own vision of his career: a marriage of high fashion and ready-to-wear, feminine and masculine looks, and elegance and shock “made in France.” Once upon a time, from Rive Gauche to the banks of the Mississippi, Yves Saint Laurent.
Although denim is quintessentially American, legend has it that this fabric originated in Nîmes, France. During negotiations with their French counterparts, American merchants rechristened the serge de Nîmes as "denim". JEANESIS further acknowledged this French connection, as Nîmes is located in the heart of Camargue, a region of swamps and marshlands, where rice crops and cattle raising by the famous Guardians are reminiscent of Louisiana’s own agricultural heritage. This heritage is also reflected in the origins of LSU as an agricultural college. Finally, Nîmes is known for its Gypsy and Spanish influential culture; a chic combination that mirrors the intertwined destinies of Spain, France, and Louisiana. JEANESIS is also a model competition, the winner of which was granted a $1000 travel scholarship to a French-speaking country.
In honor of the 2008 Summer Olympics, ATHLETICA, a tribute to sport, fused the power and valor of athletes with the beauty and creativity of couture. When Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin reinstituted the Olympic Games in 1896, he envisioned an event that would honor the Olympics of Ancient Greece. The show paid homage to both the traditional craftsmanship of French fashion and the progressive values embodied by the Olympic spirit: solidarity, resilience and universal friendship. ATHLETICA also doubled as a model competition, the winner of which was awarded a $1000 scholarship to any French-speaking country.
A tribute to our city’s French origins, and a fundraiser model competition that sent one of our contestants to Paris, France. ROUGE not only refers to the Red Stick, but also inspired our theme of Blood, Passion, and Revolution. The city was named in 1699 by French explorer Sieur d’Iberville when he came upon a cypress pole festooned with bloody heads of animals and fish. The pole was used as a hunting boundary between the Bayougoula and Houma tribes. ROUGE for the blood that has been shed throughout history, for the passion that all art requires, and for the spirit of revolution that defined both France and the United States.
Celebrating the Eighth Annual Semaine Internationale de la Francophonie, French-à-Porter was designed to show a wide range of French-inspired styles available in New Orleans, and to feature local boutiques and designers. The evening’s goals were to raise funds for the organization’s future projects, and to sponsor a scholarship for a young designer/model to study fashion in Paris. The cross-cultural interaction between Louisiana and France is best reflected in our chosen theme of ready-to-wear, which originated in the US with the development of sportswear, stretch fabrics, and avant-garde fashions by designers such as Claire McCardell. French-à-Porter provided a chic venue to honor this fusion of American ingenuity and love for comfort, and French sartorial tradition.