The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History

The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History

Robin Givhan

A Washington submit Notable booklet of 2015

"It was once a massive deal while American model went to Versailles. Who higher than Robin Givhan to inform this beautiful story?" - Diane von Furstenberg

On November 28, 1973, the world's social elite amassed on the Palace of Versailles for a world type exhibit. by the point the curtain got here down at the evening's spectacle, background have been made and the have been without end reworked. this is often that story.

Conceived as a fund-raiser for the recovery of King Louis XIV's palace, within the past due fall of 1973, 5 best American designers confronted off opposed to 5 most sensible French designers in an over-the-top runway extravaganza. An viewers choked with celebrities and overseas jet-setters, together with Princess Grace of Monaco, the Duchess of Windsor, Paloma Picasso, and Andy Warhol, have been handled to a luxurious functionality that includes Liza Minnelli, Josephine Baker, and Rudolph Nureyev. What they observed may endlessly modify the historical past of fashion.

The american citizens on the conflict of Versailles- Oscar de l. a. Renta, invoice Blass, Anne Klein, Halston, and Stephen Burrows - confirmed their paintings opposed to the 5 French designers thought of the simplest on the earth - Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, and Marc Bohan of Christian Dior. tormented by in-fighting, oversized egos, shoestring budgets, and innumerable technical problems, the yank contingent had little likelihood of assembly the European's beautiful and subtle criteria. yet opposed to all odds, the yank power and the domination through the fearless versions (ten of whom, in a groundbreaking circulation, have been African American) despatched the viewers reeling. by way of the tip of the night, the american citizens had formally taken their position at the world's degree, prompting a big shift within the manner race, gender, sexuality, and economics will be taken care of in style for many years to come back. because the curtain got here down at the conflict of Versailles, American style used to be born; not may the realm glance to Europe to figure out the stylistic traits of the day, from right here ahead, American sensibility and flavor might command the world's consciousness.

Pulitzer-Prize successful style journalist Robin Givhan bargains a full of life and meticulously well-researched account of this particular occasion. The conflict of Versailles is a pointy, attractive cultural historical past; this intimate exam of a unmarried second indicates us how the realm of favor as we all know it got here to be.

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