A wonderful world apart
In these days of prêt-à-porter and practical and accessible e-shops, do Haute Couture Shows as the ones happening in the New York Fashion Week, still make any sense?
We are all in such a hurry in our “see now-buy now” lives, surrounding ourselves with disposable clothes, disposable cellphones and even disposable relationships (Yes Tinder, I’m looking at you!), how come the intricate and luxurious world of Haute Couture still fascinates us?
Haute Couture is a term legally protected and that can be used only by designers approved by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. But Haute Couture was actually born in England, with Charles Worth, who later moved to Paris and in 1860 began making fab dresses for Empress Eugenie, Napoleon III’s wife and all French High Society.
Haute Couture garments are totally hand-made by “Les Petites Mains”, the thousands of artisans who take years to learn and master their highly specialized crafts and turn into reality the designer’s dreams and visions. Each outfit can take hundred hours of hard work and prices soar up to $250,000.
Haute Couture is the creative ground were designers of Houses such as Chanel, Givenchy, Dior, Giorgio Armani and many others, can dare and create the most extravagant - and often completely unwearable - gowns that are pure works of art and are paraded to the few lucky in breath-taking shows, twice a year.
So why spend so much time and so much money in these collections, often making huge losses and sometimes forcing the designer to give up his Haute Couture Label, as Pierre Cardin, Yves St Laurent, and many other houses did?
According to Bernard Arnault, the head of LVMH, Givenchy, and Dior, ”Haute couture is what gives our business its essential essence of luxury, set against the money we lose has to be the value of the image couture gives us. Look at the attention the collections attract. It is where you get noticed. You have to be there. It's where we set our ideas in motion.”
Despite the false impression you may have of Haute Couture being futile and out-of-touch with reality, the fashion shows draw the public’s attention to a design house and its more affordable prêt-á-porter collections, perfumes and cosmetics, generating the sales that allow Haute Couture to employ thousands of craftsmen who keep alive the old art of hand-made embroidery, tailoring, producing, cutting and dying the finest fabrics, feathers, beads and so on.
In Simon Porte Jacquemus words, “I would like to see more poetry, less industry; because fashion is nothing without poetry.”
And talking about poetry, have a look at these wonderful gowns we saw in the recent Couture 2018 Shows that are absolutely dreamy and pure poetry!
Photos via WGSN