Paris Between the Wars by Vincent Bouvet and Gérard Durozoi

11 Jan

Filled with stories of artists, musicians, fashion designers and the city life, Paris Between the Wars uses 489 photographs and illustrations to bring to life a period that the French called “les années folles” – the crazy years. Depicting Parisian life between 1919 and 1939, this book paints a clear picture of scenes and movements that flourished in Paris at a time when the world was in a grim position.

“Packed with evocative illustrations, this book is a vibrant kaleidoscope of the incomparable City of Light at its dazzling peak.”

Mesmerising is a section entitled ‘The World of Fashion’. This time period is referred to as ‘the golden age of haute couture’ by Vincent Bouvet and speaks of the incredible significance of the fashion industry during this time – it is stated that Parisian haute couture represented as much as 15% of France’s export trade during the 1930s. Providing snippets of information about the foundations of designers such as Coco Chanel and Jeanne Lanvin, the roles of women in this society are also celebrated in an exciting and feminist twist.

Not only was the fashion itself spoken of in meticulous detail, from colours that designers preferred to types of models that different houses would employ, the influence of fashion on other Parisian elements is explored beautifully.  A memoir relived is the grand tradition of the ball, allowing for photographs of the likes of Picasso and his wife Olga in their finest attires. References such as this are frequent throughout the book; creative worlds such as art, fashion and music are all entwined and feed into one another as different aspects of Paris are explored. This style of writing accurately mirrors Parisian life of this time; the overlapping of these worlds was an enormous source of inspiration for lots of people in war time Paris.

An informative book, what I loved about it the most was its clear and concise photographs. Illustrations throughout the book were explained and contextualised in great detail; this enables the words to jump to life and allows the reader to truly feel as though they are in a Parisian past world. If you are intrigued by old glamour, fashion designers, artists, musicians, the world wars or indeed the city of Paris itself, I guarantee you will adore this book. An absolute must have.

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

Paris Between the Wars is published by Thames and Hudson and is cheaper than a trip to Paris, costing £28.00.


One Response to “Paris Between the Wars by Vincent Bouvet and Gérard Durozoi”


  1. The Fashion File by Janie Bryant « A la Mode Appraisal - March 14, 2011

    […] you liked this, you may also like Paris Between the Wars by Vincent Bouvet and Gérard […]

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