Renaissance paintings, vintage ads and modern magazine spreads are printed on the pages of Fashion and Versailles by Laurence Benaïm. Everything about his book screams beauty and elegance.
Photos of runway models sit next to essays describing the history of Versailles and France itself. What I appreciate most about this book is how it intertwines passages about history with modern-day photos of actors and models most Millennials enjoy. Instead of reading like a World History professor that just lists dates and drones on, this book makes the events that occurred at Versailles have their own life alongside 21st century.
There’s no such thing as fashion without it’s history, yet it feels like today’s society placed a barrier between the two. Fashion is supposed to be hip and stylish, but it’s also about breaking barriers and shattering the expectations of the present. Without fashion designers striving to shock society who knows where we’d be. Fashion has transcended through the ages, the styles of yesterday have inspired the looks of today. So why do people rarely ever combine the two?
History books are filled with stories of triumphant victories and ignores the small things that have changed the world. How can people truly understand the culture of previous societies without being able to understand how through their clothing they expressed their individuality, or lack thereof? Fashion at Versailles does just that by telling the reader about the fantastic parties Marie Antoinette threw and how her spending habits affected an already bankrupt France. People today need to know how their world was inevitably molded by fashion.
The writing makes the book relatable, however there are a few terms that may be confusing to those who don’t know fashion language. The book is a good read and can find a spot on every fashionista’s coffee table.
A Grand Look
“The text by Laurence Benaïm is accompanied by a multitude of archive photos. There are Christian Lacroix sketches from the 1990s, a shot of Doutzen Kroes wearing a dress from the Christian Dior Fall-Winter 2007/2008 haute couture collection by John Galliano, a Karl Lagerfeld sketch, and photos of pieces from Nicolas Ghesquière's most recent collection for Louis Vuitton”.
Tricia Oliveira for Senatus Magazine