Bonjour my fellow fashion loves! In preparation for my upcoming European travels next week, let’s talk European fashion! And there is nothing more true to Europe and fashion than haute couture!
What is haute couture, you ask? It is the crème de la crème of fashionable creativity. Haute, which actually translates from French, meaning “high” and couture meaning “sewing” together have grown into the meaning of “high fashion” today. While couture if often associated with France, it was actually an Englishman, Charles Worth, who is referred to as the “father of haute couture” today. Worth relocated to Paris, France in the 1860’s and caught the eye of
one, Napoleon III’s wife, and from then on, made clothes specifically for her.
Haute couture dates back all the way to the 18th century and still today, generates more than $1 billion dollars each year in sales; however, roughly only 2,000 women around the world purchase couture and 60% of those women are American!
So what is it about haute couture that makes every woman, especially in America, want to own a piece? Maybe it’s because couture means having the garment fit for you! Having a single garment hanging in your closet, tailored to your specific body, that took a couture house anywhere from 100-400 hours to produce, makes a fairly loud statement about your status in the world. Haute couture is extreme elegance, filled with grandiosity to the max and a dramatic finish to top it off.
As couture design houses have to show their collections twice a year, we just finished seeing autumn/winter 2012 and it brought quite a few changes from the
past. For years, the king of couture has been John Galliano, but after his slip of the tongue referring to the racist and anti-Semitic insults you most likely heard about over the news, he was released from Dior’s fashion house just days before fashion week in February.
Therefore, with the absence of Galliano, no one really knew what to expect from the top couture lines on the runway. Nevertheless, my favorite, house of Chanel, didn’t disappoint offering a stunning collection in which I can only describe as
“mournful, gothic, elegance” filled with feathers, lace, and retro shapes galore!
Coming in at a close second was Givenchy. Riccardo Tisci made his Givenchy girls appear as angels falling from grace and delicate swans too beautiful to touch. Delicate beading and nude colors were all over the runway for Givenchy and done just right.
Overall, haute couture is highly impractical, complete unaffordable to most women and often unwearable (we all don’t go off to red carpet events every evening), but what would girls like me dream about if not the best of the best? What is fashion all about after all? It’s about the enormous extravagance, extreme creativity, and endless hard work it takes in putting together a piece of art so beautiful and sometimes so fragile that it might be best only if viewed in a
museum next to the greats of Picasso or Kandinsky.