No Luck For Haute Couture

French cultural domination is being eroded in all fields. In The End of Fashion, How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever, published in 2000, Teri Agins shows how even French Haute Couture has ceased to set the tone. The end of French cultural relevance is one factor explaining the decline of French as a lingua franca.

The time when "fashion" was defined by French designers whose clothes could be afforded only by elite has ended. Now designers take their cues from mainstream consumers and creativity is channeled more into mass-marketing clothes than into designing them. Indeed, one need look no further than the Gap to see proof of this. In The End of Fashion, Wall Street Journal reporter Teri Agins astutely explores this seminal change, laying bare all aspects of the fashion industry from manufacturing, retailing, and licensing to image making and financing. Here as well are fascinating insider vignettes that show Donna Karan fighting with financiers, the rivalry between Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, and the commitment to haute couture that sent Isaac Mizrahi's business spiraling.

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