Thursday, 7 July 2011


So usually couture weeks go by without much comment or interest from me. 

Take Ellie Saab. Of course the dresses are beautiful, but they are really the same reworked/rehashed variations of his usual thing. Nothing new. Nothing different. Beautiful, yes. Exciting(?), hardly.

The inverse applies if we consider (real) modern Haute Couture (e.g. Christian Dior, Givenchy, Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier). What started out in the nineteenth century as dress making for the aristocracy has morphed to serve an entirely different purpose. 

Modern Haute Couture is a flight of the imagination, an art work of fabric and thread, essentially a showcase of undiluted theatricality. And this is very much the rubicon which my interest fails to cross.

Today only a tiny market for couture remains. Worldwide only 2000 women in the world buy Haute couture clothes (60% are American, and probably ancient), with only 200 regular customers.

Perhaps it is utilitarian of me, but I believe fashion has a simple, shallow yet indispensable, purpose to serve. Beauty and vanity. Broadly speaking, an unwearable museum piece of a dress does neither. However, what it does do, is reinforce the brand's prestige which in turn filters through and bolsters other sales.  This is one of the reasons I disapprove of the intellectualisation of fashion, as the cynic in me rolls me eyes when a Dior is compared to a Degas, or a Stephane Rolland to a Renoir.

However, I like to think that I'm not dogmatic. Hence, my next post will be on a show that did grab my attention this couture week.


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