Fashion was Versailles and Versailles was fashion: rampant, mercurial, and irrepressible in its determination to seduce,” writes Laurence Benaïm in the introduction to his new book, which explores Versailles as the birthplace of couture and chronicles the unflagging fascination the palace and its inhabitants continue to hold. “As street fashion becomes increasingly uniform, so a search for new identities grows—largely online—in which Versailles has assumed a new role as the medium of in nite possibilities, a refuge for dreams and visions,” he continues. Legendary couturiers such as Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Givenchy found inspiration in the styles of 18th-century France, as have more-modern designers Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood, and Alexander McQueen, among others. Shoe and jewelry designers as well as hair and makeup artists look to Versailles as a source. Carefully researched, eloquent, and lled with archival images, catwalk moments, Hollywood stills, sketches, and fashion photo shoots at the palace, these pages give credence to the unparalleled excesses, but also the incomparable fashion legacy of Versailles.
Fashion and Versailles, Laurence Benaïm (Flammarion, 2018)