Posted: July 11th, 2012
In the last decade, the case for a dying couture is one that has been questioned and feared in fashion. The act of haute couture being high quality garments, made to measure by painstaking hours of attention to detail, skill, precision and perfection, has been revered and celebrated since the mid 19th century.
The question has been, how much longer can this skill set be sustained profitably? How many exclusive customers can continue to buy into it … long term…and how much of an impact does it make in their lives …long term. I think today’s fashion consumer is a lot more smarter, more aware of what clothes and “fashion” really means. I believe than even in all fashion’s frivolities, the consumer is more concerned about how “fashion” will affect their modern day to day life.
Hence why I feel that couture has become more relevant ~ what I saw in Paris was an attempt to modernize the skill, that luxury and craftsmanship could be an everyday task for designers, that haute couture could remain, even in the meekest form, but that most importantly it was relevant.
These are my top three favorites.
Jean Paul Gaultier
I find quite intriguing, the idea of a suit, a feminine suit, that while carrying such intrinsically male characteristics, can completely transform the female form as it accentuates the right curves and points. With JPG’s collection I felt a sense of power and control, not so much with the suit-like renditions themselves, but more so with what they represented. That although the suits were now fit for the female form – in high nipped waist trousers and cropped boleros and one-sleeved blazer dresses overlapping sheer tanks and waist coat dresses with buttons undone quite high, they represented a sense of modern day power for modern day women.
Valentino, I believe has been one of the best design houses to transition from Valentino himself to a team of creative directors successfully. Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo have been effective at transforming and transitioning the brand from the red dress couture phenomenon to modern and wearable.
Now more than ever the brand appeals to me in youthful ways that appeal to my everyday fashion sensibilities — (the studded points from a few season ago have become my all time favorite shoes). I loved that this collection was quite simplified for a couture show. As couture’s relevance is questioned year after year, you can’t help but salute Chiuri and Paolo for their attempt to create pieces that were more “ready to wear”, and that in itself is the appeal. Take for example the deep navy jumpsuit, the embellished blouse with the black skirt to match – they are easy, accessible, they are modern day elegance personified. In keeping with the brands aesthetic, without fail was the gorgeous red sheer dress, again – very modern, very now, but still in line with what to expect from a Valentino dress. Another favorite was the blue knife pleats sheer chiffon maxi which showed stunning workmanship.
In talking about modernity and relevance, Giambattista didn’t deliver ~ not because the pieces weren’t contemporary enough – in fact in a sense some were, but that they weren’t “every-day-ready-to-wear”. This is still totally fine, if the brand can somehow sustain it. Saying that, what was amazing about the entire collection is that clothes represented a fantasy, which is what haute couture has come to be known for essentially. They propelled you to a sphere where fashion and sense were distant relatives. It was nice to see the obvious detail and technique the pieces possessed. In this world that Giambattista projected, they seemed to posses an aquatic fairy-like presence where Roses ruled.
Photos Courtsey: www.style.com