parsons paris collaborates with l'officiel on occasion of their shared centennials

Students in the MA Fashion Studies program explored the magazine's archives, and focused their research around representation in fashion

A cover of L'Officiel from their archives

Paris, France, February 12, 2021 - On the occasion of their centenary anniversaries in 2021, L’Officiel and The New School’s Parsons Paris have joined forces for a project exploring the fashion magazine’s extensive archive. The partnership consists of a variety of activities, internships, MA thesis projects and a group collaboration overseen by L’Officiel’s Consulting Global Chief Creative Officer Stefano Tonchi. This marks the very first time that L'Officiel has opened up the magazine’s digital and physical archive for academic study.

The project reconstructs the history of the publication from 1921 to today. During the Fall semester, students had the unique opportunity to explore all 897 issues, browsing through thousands of images and articles. Focusing on issues of labor, gender, national identities, race, aesthetic subversion, and class, the research aims to rethink the contribution of L’Officiel and rediscover forgotten histories of the fashion industry. It documents the multiple figures and actors involved in the making of L’Officiel such as photographers Mme D’Ora and Peter Knapp, writers Roger Nalys and Paule Giroud Jameson, and the editor Marie-José Susskind-Jalou. This project reveals L’Officiel as the official voice of the French fashion industry as well as its global influence on fashion: being the first magazine of its kind to feature three languages within the same title (English, French and Spanish) and to expand through multiple international editions like L’Officiel China or L’Officiel Brasil. The research highlights the importance of the magazine in documenting the shift from haute couture to ready-to-wear, the various industrial chains that make up the fashion system but also the creation of imaginaries of fashion, femininities and Frenchness, nationally and abroad. 

As part of this collaboration, the MA student Piper McDonald is writing a MA thesis that documents L’Officiel Art, exploring the relationship between the fine art and fashion systems.

The results of the research will be collected in a publication curated by the L’Officiel team to celebrate the centenary of the magazine, and presented in a talk and exhibition during the annual festival, Printing Fashion (www.printingfashion.fr) that will be held on March 12th & 13th 2021, organized by the Parsons Paris Master’s program in Fashion Studies.

“Having the chance to browse one of the most important media online archives was a unique experience for our students, especially during this time of confinement, as it gave us the opportunity to continue our research activities from home. The online digital is not only an amazing resource to study L’Officiel but a groundbreaking lens to explore the evolution of the fashion industry and its media,” stated Marco Pecorari, Program Director of the MA Fashion Studies program at Parsons Paris.

“For 100 years, L’Officiel has served as a trusted fashion authority, not only in France, but as a pioneer of the global fashion media landscape,” said Stefano Tonchi, Consulting Global Chief Creative Officer at L’Officiel. “The magazine has been instrumental in both driving progress and chronicling the industry’s major milestones. Over the course of this collaboration with Parsons Paris, we have uncovered hundreds of thousands of images and stories putting fashion in the larger context of culture. Following a process of curation, we look forward to unveiling a new book, documentary, and traveling exhibition."

Parsons Paris
Established in 1921 as the first American art and design school in Paris, Parsons Paris today is an international community of students and distinguished faculty committed to tackling the challenges of an evolving world with creativity and intellectual rigor. Parsons Paris offers innovative English language bachelor's and master’s degree programs in fashion, strategic design management, and art, media, and technology. Curricula brings together the globally renowned pedagogy of Parsons School of Design and the unique resources of Paris, with its heritage brands, forward-looking entrepreneurial culture, and access to Europe and beyond. Together with Parsons in New York and The New School—Parsons’ parent university—Parsons Paris maintains a network of local and global universities, cultural institutions, and organizations and businesses. Inspired by this dynamic city and a collaborative, interdisciplinary culture, graduates go on to pioneer new industries and pursue creative careers in Paris and worldwide.

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