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Fashion Editorial

Luxury Of Haute Couture

Couture collections are some of the most highly anticipated events on the fashion calendar – not to mention the most enchantingly beautiful. But do these seemingly expensive, overtly extravagant and often times very impractical pieces have a place in today’s ‘fast fashion’ society?

Quite simply yes. And Haute Couture is even becoming more popular!

Haute couture, French for ‘high sewing’, refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing made to order. Sewn with extreme attention to detail with hand-executed techniques, Haute Couture is created with the highest quality fabrics, finishings and embellishments. Now a ‘protected name’ there are only a handful of labels that meet the couture criteria. These include: Chanel; Christian Dior; Valentino; Elie Saab; Givenchy; Armani Privé and Jean Paul Gaultier.

The Haute Couture Business

To these powerful luxury labels, Haute Couture is still an important element of business. It’s an investment in the label’s image and global communication.

The dream of Couture fantasy helps to sell perfume and all areas of the brand; but most importantly it is the purest form of fashion, with a growing client base intent on keeping the extraordinary craftsmanship and intangible beauty alive.

Today, Chanel has estimated that there are 1,000 potential Haute Couture clients around the world. With 200 to 300 of these clients attending the Chanel collections each season. Dior too has expressed that their client base is growing. The Dior Couture Spring 2011 collection was presented in front of 800 guests – double that of the previous season. Demand for Givenchy couture is expected to rise by 10%; meanwhile for Elie Saab the couture calendar accounted for 43% of the company’s business.

It is also an imperative component in publicity – with images of actresses walking the red carpet in these spectacular gowns beamed around the world. With Paris Couture Week taking place just before the Golden Globes, Oscars then followed by the Cannes Film Festival – it’s a winning combination for both actress and the label’s image. Remember Cate Blanchett’s unique Givenchy Haute Couture gown or the lavender lace Elie Saab Haute Couture gown worn by Mila Kunis (both pictured below)? These ladies and their gowns will be documented forever.

Haute Couture Evolution

An imperative element of all fashion is evolution. And Haute Couture is no exception. During the Couture Spring 2011 collections, a few houses broke the convention of traditional ‘Haute Couture’ to present spectacular creations for women of today.

Karl Lagerfeld weaved his magic at Chanel with a collection that was fresh with iridescent sparkle and delicate charisma. This wasn’t Chanel as we know it or traditional Haute Couture either. Skinny black jeans, black ballet flats and sprinklings of ‘cobweb’ like beads, floated down the runway like glistening rebellious ballerinas.

In fantastical shades of the lightest pinks, like delicious sweet macaroons, worn with beaded tulle leggings or jeans cut long and close to the leg – Chanel was seemingly enchanting a whole new generation of couture lovers. Of the collection, Lagerfeld said: “Haute Couture is about modern attitude. You have to adopt to the mood of the moment… this is the way people dress today.”  

Christian Lacroix once said, “Haute Couture should be fun, foolish and almost unwearable”

Haute Couture is a expression of spectacular craftsmanship, everlasting beauty, mesmerizing extravagance and above all else desire. Qualities I am certain will hold their place in the world for many, many years to come.

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