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Culture & Religion

Why the French Do Fashion Best

A month of fashion goes out with a bang this week in the city that does it best—Paris. As recent Big Think guest and New York Magazine fashion director Harriet Mays Powell tells us, Paris is “just a city that really dazzles, and they have, I think, basically the best clothes on the planet.”

Powell gives us a sharp run down of the nature of French fashion, and why French women generally spend smarter on clothes than American women. She also shares her thoughts on fellow NY fashion grand dame Anna Wintour, and why NY Magazine is more than just Vogue-lite.

Or course, with the outpouring of influential fashion bloggers and the debut of several savvy and off-beat new magazines, the dominance of the Vogue model becomes less and less sure. Powell gives us her thoughts on the enduring importance of Vogue and other glossies and shares her concern about staying relevant in an industry that thrives on youth.

With a $20,000 check and instructions to bring back “some good paintings” from friend and financier Dr. Albert C. Barnes, American artist William Glackens set off for Paris in 1912 with carte blanche to buy the very best modern art he could find. Long a champion and connoisseur of European and American modernism, Glackens sent back to Barnes 33 works by now-renowned artists such as Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh that helped shape the collection that eventually became The Barnes Foundation.

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