We must go back as far as the reign of King Louis XIV who ruled from 1642 to 1715. Louis was born at St Germain-en-Laye on the 5th September 1638 and he became king at the age of four after the death of his father, Louis XIII. In later years he became known as "Le Roi Soleil", (the Sun King). Wealth was judged by the clothes that were worn and naturally royalty had to be wearing the very best.

Louis XIV soon realised that in order to be able to wear the finest, a new industry had to be created and he actively encouraged France to produce wonderful goods such as textiles, lace, silk and ribbons; he achieved this by ceasing to trade with other countries. Paris, as the country's capital, soon became the epicentre for fine French fashion and haute couture, leading to a huge demand for its products worldwide. It is thought that Louis XIV used French fashion to show his power, but it is more likely that it was to express his wealth and flamboyant nature..French-King-Louis-XIV

He demanded that each formal event should have its own dress code, requiring a huge wardrobe for all his guests and consequentially, a huge bank balance. He also made a big performance out of getting up in the mornings and going to bed at night, not only because of his interest in all things solar, but also because of the pleasure it gave him donning different expensive and flamboyant clothes. He would also require his team of dressmakers to provide him with outfits for each event during the day and would dress accordingly. The balls, banquets and dinner parties were a chance for everyone to show off their wonderful French fashions.

Louis XIV had a great desire to differentiate France from other nations, leading to French fashion becoming highly sought after. Being a smart businessman, he had the French fashion dressmakers produce wonderful tiny outfits, exact in every detail, which were then put on miniature dolls and sent, not just to courts all around Europe, but around the world, enabling all to see the beauty, sophistication and intricacy of French fashion designs. Nobility and the wealthy would then take the dolls to their dressmakers to have identical, perfectly fitting replicas made – hence haute couture. French-fashion-doll-18-century-2This also catapulted the French fashion industry to huge success as orders flooded in for the finest fabrics, lace and ribbons, etc. and as a result, France became a major exporter of textiles and luxury clothing to all of Europe.

More than three centuries later, French fashion and its clothing brands and labels, such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Balmain, Louis Vuitton can be seen in all major cities around the world. Naturally as time moves on, so does French fashion and now, every year, there are new, young French designers that are able to offer more affordable stylish clothing. This is why French Fashion Online was created; we will introduce you to these new couturiers and you too can wear stunning French designer outfits, but at an affordable cost.

Bygone days, King Louis XIV – nowadays, French Fashion Online; et voila!