top of page

Licensing Luxury Fashion: A Global History

01/20/24 Saturday - Lecture with Véronique I. C. Pouillard

Saturday, 01/20/24, 10am PT

Presented via Zoom

Virtual Tickets (Zoom): $5 Members of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Students. $10 General Admission \ free for TAC members.

A recording will be available for two weeks following the talk.

Licensing Luxury Fashion: A Global History of Craftsmanship, Dress, and Branding in the 20th Century

Luxury has a long history, and was one of the earliest industries to internationalize. Since the 1970s especially, the concept of internationalization was replaced by the idea of globalization. At the center of this phenomenon was the integration of high fashion firms into global luxury groups. Many of these haute couture houses originated in European cities, and their creations are now kept in museums and in private collections around the world. In the present day, field configuring events, such as the Fashion Weeks, are structured by the rhythms of the four cities of Paris, London, Milan, and New York.

How did small fashion operations merge to create some of the largest business groups in the world? What could creative fashion designers gain from this transformation? Was anything lost from it? And what was the place of the consumers in such a transformation from craftsmanship to global firms? At the heart of this transformation was the rise of luxury fashion brands. Brand licensing was essential to the global reach of the early craftsmanship entrepreneurs. Beyond the four fashion capitals, we will examine in this talk how luxury fashion reached further. Three geographical zones of expansion of luxury fashion: the West Coast of the United States, Central Africa, and finally Central and South America, will take us beyond the usual fashion centers.

Véronique I. C. Pouillard is a professor of International History at the University of Oslo. She has a PhD in History (after 1789) from the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Her PhD was about the history of advertising agencies in Belgium, and the international exchanges of the Belgian advertising milieus (from 1850 to 1970). She was a Harvard-Newcomen fellow in 2008-9. She has researched and published on the history of the luxury and fashion businesses. On the rise of fashion firms to international luxury groups, she published in 2021 Paris to New York. The Transatlantic History of the Fashion Industry (Harvard University Press). Most recently she co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Luxury Business (2021), with Pierre-Yves Donzé and Joanne Roberts. She currently leads the ERC CoG project 818523, Creative IPR: The History of Intellectual Property in the Creative Industries, at the University of Oslo.

Madalena Santos Reinbolt, untitled, c. 1969-1977, acrylic yarn on burlap.

About the image:

Christian Dior (French, 1905–1957)

Girouette evening dress: dress, underpinning, and belt (cummerbund), Fall/Winter 1948 Haute Couture

Retailed by I. Magnin & Company (United States, 1876–1994)

Worn by Jeanne Magnin (American, 1897–1986)

Silk gros de Tours and silk velvet

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Bequest of Jeanne Magnin, 1987.25.3a–c

Photograph by Randy Dodson


bottom of page