At the beginning of the 19th century, a lady of high society is sitting on a comfortable sofa staring at the dress of a young woman. It is before the creation of a designer to buy it to show off at his next charity dinner. The young woman is only in charge of holding the heavy mirror in which the ladies look for their best profile. We are before the deepest origin of the birth of the parades.
But who would really define what we now know as a parade, would be the first haute couture designer Charles Frederick Worth changing the entire creative process.
Tailors and seamstresses used to work on the orders of their clients; but Charles changed everything and he created his collections based on his own ideas and choosing the fabrics and adornments. This change also entailed exposing their garments differently. So with previous invitation to his clients, he showed his collections in motion in luxurious salons.
The models known as sosies used to be the saleswomen or the assistants and they only had to show the clothes and walk in a straight line. Among them, Marie Vernet, considered the first model in the history of fashion.
The first fashion shows are related to the theater, and were created at the same time as the cinema. Both materialize the modernity of the time. The first designer to present a collection exclusively for the press was the Frenchman Paul Poiret in the summer of 1910.
The firm Lucile created theatrical parades to show their garments in their stores. There was a space just for it with adequate lighting, live music and models with exotic names paraded with theatrical poses before a select audience. In the 20s, the parades become a social event.
They were held in designer salons, at sporting events and in department stores. In Paris, the city of fashion of the time, Jeanne Paquin highlighted who turned the parades into shows; so she showed her creations in theaters and asked her models to walk around with her clothes in the busiest places like Longchamp horse races.
Coco Chanel also highlighted that he proposed his models a certain position to mark their own style. That position was based on hips forward, sagging shoulders, one foot in front, one hand in the pocket and the other gesticulating. Later, it would become a symbol of the brand itself.
The designer Jean Patou was the first to select the models through the castings leading to the consolidation of the model profession.
Lastly, in the US, department stores influenced by Paris offered parades anywhere, even in restaurants. These parades were very theatrical and were presented by a narrator.