Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-bicycles-courtyard

Bicycles in a Parisian courtyard. © Paris Update

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Stick up for science
> The Paris March for Science begins at 1pm at the Jardin des Plantes (Place Valhubert), April 22.

Silent films from Switzerland?
> They’re rare, but they do exist and can be seen at the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, April 20-May 2.

Voices from the North
> The Pølar Festival celebrates Northern European culture with films, concerts, talks and more. Various locations, Paris, April 19-29.

Photo walk
> Eight Paris galleries hold special photography shows and events for Parcours Fotofever. Various locations, Paris, through May 1.

Photo shows galore
> Le Mois de la Photo has been moved from autumn to spring, with 96 exhibitions taking place all over the greater Paris area. See Web site for locations and dates.

Art videos
> The theme of this year’s Videobox Festival is “noise and movement.” Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 27-29.

Take home a winemaker
> Winemakers from Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux come to Paris to offer tastings of their products in wine bars and private homes for the event J’Irai Déguster chez Vous. Various venues, Paris, April 20-22.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Nicolas Bedos’s Monsieur & Madame Adelman preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, April 21.

Polaroid pix
> The “Expolaroid” exhibition features Polaroid images by nine artists. La Maison des Ensembles, Paris, through April 25.

Binge-watching
> Festival Séries Mania shows TV series from around the world and holds debates, conferences and special guests like Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife,” all for free. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 23.

Travel yarns
> Travel fanatics get together at the Paris Travelers Festival to swap tales of their adventures. FIAP, Paris, April 22-23.

Street art indoors

ParisUpdate-UrbanArtFair-Felipe-Pantone-2
The gallery Art in the Game will be showing works by Felipe Pantone at the Urban Art Fair.> Some 30 galleries show street art at the Urban Art Fair. Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 20-23.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.

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Hot Topics - Flash News

 

The Essence of Style

Black Is So 17th Century

Plus ça change....

There may be nothing new under the sun, but the Sun King himself had plenty of nouveautés up his billowing sleeve. Almost everything we know about fashion today, according to Joan DeJean’s book The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour (Free Press), originated under the reign of Louis XIV, with the help of his crafty finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

According to DeJean, a professor specializing in 17th-century France at the University of Pennsylvania, the mincing, charismatic young Louis XIV deliberately set out to change France’s place in the world. “When his reign began,” she writes, “his nation in no way exercised dominion over the realm of fashion. By its end, his subjects had become accepted all over the Western world as the absolute arbiters in matters of style and taste, and his nation had found an economic mission: it ruled over the sectors of the luxury trade that have dominated that commerce ever since.”

The book is full of entertaining anecdotes about the fashion excesses of Louis’ day and comparisons with today’s trends. One of the earliest hairdressers, cunningly named Monsieur Champagne, is a good example. He insulted his aristocratic clients, bedded them and often stormed out of the room, leaving them half-coiffed. The must-have hairstyle of the day was the fontange, an elaborate do named after one of Louis’ mistresses.

DeJean notes that the idea of fashion seasons was originated during Louis’ reign by the popular newspaper Le Mercure Galant, which issued the type of fashion diktats we are all familiar with today, including the prophetic “everyone is wearing black” for the winter of 1679.

She goes on to describe how the newspaper

invented lifestyle marketing and how the lower classes adapted the fashion diktats to their budgets.

Many of the advertising, marketing and branding techniques we are familiar with today were invented on Louis’ watch, and he was apparently behind the birth of nightlife as well. Why is Paris called the “City of Light”? Because Louis insisted that the streets be lit at night, facilitating after-dark outings.

While DeJean’s book has more depth than one might expect from the subject matter, she fails to mention the dark side of Louis’ innovations: much of the wealth generated by the new luxury industry was used to fill the king’s war coffers. Today, it continues to fill the coffers of the still-unrivaled French luxury industry.

Reviewed by Karen Burshtein


Heidi Ellison

© 2005 Paris Update

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