High-low style canâ€™t be called a trend, it has been around since very long, and every year, the market tries to explain with new words what we are already tired of knowing. But now Ruth Runberg, buying director at Browns, the influential London-based fashion boutique, brings a new perspective to the term. She says…
â€œ(â€¦) Gravitating to extremes is a reflection on the way that todayâ€™s luxury-wearing women are dressing, Very few are still living every hour of every day in a designer skirtsuit with matching heels and handbag â€” it is simply too formal and too stiff to be modern. While this client may still demand from designers the more special, high-design pieces for certain times, she also has a need for clothes to wear when she doesnâ€™t need to be â€˜dressed.â€™ (…)”
Runberg explains the role of demi-couture in times of troubled economy:
â€œGenerally, very formal dressing felt appropriate or tasteful at fewer and fewer occasions in the wake of the financial crisis.â€ But for those occasions when women do need a fancy frock, they are increasingly requesting only the most exquisite, intricate pieces, she explained. â€œIn response to this shift in demand, young designers have gone the direction of offering their clients either very special demi-couture or luxury casualwear.â€
London-based Mary Katrantzou sold 18 units of her Â£8,300 Fall 2011 Jewel Tree dress, an appliquÃ© velvet frock, embellished with enamel flowers, lace and Swarovski crystals, that took so much work that it actually made Katrantzouâ€™s machinist cry. â€œI think the customer is inundated with so many different options. They have so many things to choose from but if women who collect fashion donâ€™t see something that really strikes them as unique, they donâ€™t bother anymore,â€ explained Katrantzou. â€œItâ€™s a new way of buying.â€
â€œThe Barneys customer is looking for rare, exclusive product that has a strong price value and fits into their lifestyle,â€ said Daniella Vitale, chief merchant and executive vice president of Barneys New York. â€œFrivolity is not in their vocabulary, which does not mean they will not spend money or pay a high price for something; it means they actually intend to wear it â€” more than once. And they want pieces that not everyone has.â€
So, the actual trend here is actually, as I like to call it, the curated wardrobe, where each piece is chosen carefully, without much influence of the seasons fashion, but rather style, quality, functionality. Great times!