Question: What is the relevance of haute couture clothing in today’s society. A few fashion houses like, Chanel, Givenchy, Valentino, Christian Dior, Giambattista Valli and Jean Paul Gaultier (just to name a few) would all agree that haute couture is just as relevant today as it was in fashion’s past. Never one to deny the fashion gods I am, however, on the fence about this one.
The haute couture shows wrapped up last week in (where else?) Paris. The fashionably relevant flooded the streets of Paris to attend the shows. Riccardo Tisci’s, for french fashion house Givenchy, vision was “purity, lightness, fragility”. Looking at the image above (I had trouble looking away), one can definatley see that vision come to fruition. The models looked erethral, angelic, whimsical. Karl Lagefeld, for Chanel, demonstrated a stronger silohuette with tweed skirt suits in greys, blacks and pops of bright fuschia; with textured dress that made a strong statement. The Christian Dior (without M. John Galliano) collection was somewhat of a digression from the Dior of the past; with the geometric millinery, oversized ruffles and multi-coloured, pleated tunics. But maybe that’s what every house needs? An eccentric designer to come around and ruffle the feathers (or the taffeta and organza). But the exuberance of Bill Gaytten’s “interesting” (yeah, let’s call it that) creations at the house of Dior, begs the question: is haute coutre relevant in today’s society?
For those who didn’t know, haute couture is the custom design of the richest textitles, all hand crafted by seamstresses and tailors. Some say couture, a niche market, was officially born from British designer, Charles Frederick Worth , the Father of Couture, nearly 152 years ago. Couture caters to the fashion elite. Each designer creates a collection, using only materials of the highest calibre, hand crafted by the most talented and experienced hands in the business. Thousands of human-hours go into creating one piece; reflected in the inflated price tag. Only a small class can afford such creations, thus increasing the exclusivity of owning a piece of couture. Under French law, a fashion house is deemed haute couture if it creates 35 limited, hand-sewn, made to order day and evening pieces constructed by a team of at least 15 full time employees. The title, haute couture is governed by the Chambre Syndicale who help to organize the biannual presentations.
Many argue that the industry is not self-sustainable due to the high cost of materials and labour used in the creation of one piece. The fact that today, still, shows of a handful of designers happen in Paris, and red carpet looks often involve a handful of couture dresses…what does that tell ya?
I changed my mind, I’m no longer on the fence. If you can pull couture off, on the daily, like Anna Dello Russo or Daphne Guiness (if you don’t know who these women are, look them up…NOW), or worthy red-carpet celebrities, each piece is wearable art. And isn’t that really the point? Couture started off as a niche market and still is; it’s initial intention was not to appeal to the masses but those truly in love with fashion (and those who have deep, deep pockets). Just because you aren’t part of the club (well, at least not yet) doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy it…my eyes keep wandering back to that Givenchy image above! I just can’t look away! Anyway, haute couture has kept it’s integrity throughout the years. It continues to wonder and awe those who truly appreciate it and indulge the conversations of its critics. Anything that does that, is highly relevant.
Information source: flare.com
Photo credits: All images are hyperlinked
^AMSocial tagging: Anna Dello Russo > celebrity designers > Christian Dior > Daphne Guiness > editor in cheif > Galliano > Givenchy > haute couture