A significant shift in culture occurred in France and elsewhere at the beginning of the 18th century, known as the Enlightenment, which valued reason over authority. In France, the sphere of influence for art, culture and fashion shifted from Versailles to Paris, where the educated bourgeoisie class gained influence and power in salons and cafés.
Fashion designers gained even more influence during this era, as people scrambled to be clothed in the latest styles. Fashion magazines emerged during this era, originally aimed at intelligent readers, but quickly capturing the attention of lower classes with their colorful illustrations and up-to-date fashion news. Even though the fashion industry was ruined temporarily in France during the Revolution, it flourished in other European countries, especially England.
Before the mid-19th century the division between haute couture and ready-to-wear did not really exist. All but the most basic major pieces of female clothing was made-to-measure by dressmakers and seamstresses dealing directly with the client, and fitting to her shape. Hats, gloves and similar accessories were mostly made ready to wear and sold in shops as now. Tailors worked with men in the same way.
Around the start of the 20th century fashion magazines began to include photographs and became even more influential. Throughout the world these magazines were greatly sought-after and had a profound effect on public taste. Talented illustrators – among them Paul Iribe, Georges Lepape, Erté, and George Barbier – drew attractive fashion plates for these publications, which covered the most recent developments in fashion and beauty. Perhaps the most famous of these magazines was La Gazette du Bon Ton which was founded in 1912 by Lucien Vogel and regularly published until 1925.