How France built its luxury fashion brand reputation
Luxury fashion, like branding, has a long and fascinating history that spans from antiquity to the present day. It is instructive to recall the seminal times, events, and conditions that shaped the contemporary French luxury brand.
French expertise in the realm of luxury goods is a national treasure and a major contributor to France's international renown. Luxury in France may seem unparalleled now, but before Louis XIV it lagged behind the rest of Europe. In comparison to Chinese porcelain and silk, Flemish lace, and Italian glassware, French gold weavings just can't hold their own.
Current global standing
According to writer Laurence Picot, who wrote the bestseller Les Secrets du luxe, France now has nothing to envy other nations when it relates to luxury. "Of the 270 luxury companies around the globe, 130 are French and make for a 1/4 of sales." The evolution of French manufacturing throughout history.
How it started
France is the undisputed gold standard when it comes to high-end consumer products, and the country has maintained a virtual stranglehold on the industry for many centuries. The first days of French opulence, when the most prestigious mansions were built.
At the conclusion of the seventeenth century, while Italy, China, and Netherlands had already established themselves as global leaders in the area of luxury, Louis XIV with his advisor Colbert laid the groundwork for the future of French luxury.
After Jean-Baptiste Colbert was named Minister of Finance in 1665, France began to master the art of luxury, which would go ahead to emerge as one of the country's greatest strengths. In addition, the Compagnie de Saint-Gobain traces its roots back to 1665, when the Royal Glass Factory was established.
Cradle of French luxury, the different manufacturers of Saint-Gobain, Gobelins, and Sèvres drew together in the 17th and 18th centuries the greatest artisans and developed French know-how in order to sell these emblems of opulent abroad. French luxury mirror production in the 18th century eclipsed that of Venice, ushering in an era of unprecedented wealth and leisure for the nation.
Romans-sur-Isère is a tiny town in the Drôme area of France that has been known for its high-end shoemaking since the Medieval Era. But beginning in 1891, French towns like Limoges' Weston, Isère's Saint-Jean de Moirans' Paraboot (which has been around since 1908), and Alsace's Dettwiller's Heschung began producing their own high-end shoe lines.
French fashion is the gold standard in the industry, and Paris is often regarded as the world's fashion center. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that many of the world's most prestigious luxury brands had their beginnings in France. Hermès and Cartier were the first household brands in the luxury goods industry, respectively, when they debuted in 1837 and 1847, after the July Revolution of 1830 and the subsequent growth of the French middle class.
Back in 1854, Louis Vuitton, a suitcase manufacturer from the Jura area of France, opened up his first Vuitton studios, and the quality leather products industry in France took off. This was the Longchamp label, founded in 1948 with factories in Maine et Loire as well as Mayenne, that would continue to make its name in the annals of French leather products, though.
The Pays de Grasse in southeastern France is renowned for its perfumes and has been recognized as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage site for its long history of perfume making. France is the birthplace of luxury brands like Guerlain (1828) and Lancôme (1935).
That's why France is now widely recognized as a hub for the luxury goods industry, having carved out a name for itself across the board from fashion to jewelry With the help of these iconic brands, France has been able to cement its position as a global powerhouse.