I stumbled across an interesting article yesterday on Harper’s Bazaar that had a very catchy title: When did the first ever fashion show take place?
Well, apparently the first fashion show hasn’t been attributed to anyone in specific. Yet further research indicates that fashion shows started around the year 1900, just a little over a 100 years ago and partly following the introduction of French Haute Couture in the mid 19th century.
It also turns out that the 1800s witnessed a bevy of fashion parades that took place in French salons. Throughout these events, the models- strictly called “mannequins” at the time – were taught the art of walking and posing in a saloon filled with onlookers. It was also an opportunity to show off the different body shapes that were the trend at the time; you see mannequins in the late 1800s had fuller figures than they do today. Yet, this saw a shift towards the 1920s, when they displayed slimmed down figures that were supposedly more desirable to both genders.
It also seems that the first American fashion show took place in 1903 in New York City’s Elrlich Brothers boutique. In the 1920s, fashion shows became more of a theatrical production, organized around a theme and narrated by a single person. The 1970s saw the introduction and the rise of private fashion shows and the eventual induction of fashion weeks around the world’s fashion capitals.
Source and pictures: Harper’s Bazaar