How to Join
the Fashion Spot / Front Row / Fashion... In Depth
FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Rules Links Mobile How to Join
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
12-11-2013
  1
scenester
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: FL
Gender: homme
Posts: 81
Haute Couture and the 21st Century
Last week I read an article through BoF about Bouchra Jarrar and it made me think of the HC AW '13 collections. I noticed more designers expanded their daywear and seemed to show more wearable designs, could this be couture's response to the modern era?

We all know couture is a sector of the industry that is hardly profitable (by itself) due in large part to it's high cost and impracticality. Some designers, Jarrar and Vionnet notably, seem to want to change this and save the dying HC industry by addressing these two issues. Several comments on this site about Jarrar's AW collection basically criticized the collection as not being "haut couture", which of course made me wonder what does one consider "haut couture"?

So I would like to discuss two things: democratizing and/or modernizing haut couture and what exactly do you, fellow tfs'ers, consider HC (an aesthetic, a technique, a gala restricted to heritage brands, a standard for new designers to reach, etc).

*forgive me if this topic has already been discussed and merge with said topic, please*


Last edited by thercbray; 12-11-2013 at 11:09 PM.
  Reply With Quote
 
13-11-2013
  2
Geometric Discharge
 
Crying Diamonds's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: London
Gender: homme
Posts: 7,204
Every season it comes about that a number of people posting on tFS will declare that certain designs or designers are not 'Haute Couture', they are wrong and I will be the first person to point this out - there is no specification for Haute Couture designs to be the extravagant fantasy-land visions of Galliano, I believe that is the opposite of what true Haute Couture stands for.

Couture is about exclusivity; of the extreme luxury of having something made by hand, entirely for you and you alone, as so only one person in the world can wear that garment and have it fit correctly.

To share my views on your given example of Bouchra Jarrar, I believe she is one of the only truly modern couturiers - she creates a wardrobe of understated, wearable pieces for a hyper-luxury market.

Galliano and McQueen are and were geniuses, they have created pieces that make people dream, and they have upped the fortunes of deserving houses, but they have all but killed couture in the long-run. Whereas Cristobal Balenciaga was, and now Bouchra Jarrar is, creating a 'more-affordable' couture to wear every day, Galliano and McQueen were creating pieces that cost a fortune and one could only wear once.

The expectation of Haute Couture now to be those show-stopping gowns has completely overshadowed the fact that it should really be an exclusive wardrobe concentrating on fit, quality, the wearer's comfort and satisfaction.

  Reply With Quote
14-11-2013
  3
backstage pass
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Sunnydale, CA
Gender: homme
Posts: 606
Not sure if it's modernizing HC or going back to basics. Half a century ago couturiers used to cater to people who had the means to afford the best made-to-measure clothes. The not-so-well-off would go to a dressmaker or sew own clothes, the ritch had HC. It was about clothes and prestige, not about spectacular show (which are nice to look at, no denying that) or dresses that are flashier than what a drag queen would wear. Even today HC clients don't dress up like peacocks, well, most of them don't, if someone takes the second to notice. I think it's the last couple decades to blame for a slightly skewed image of HC, the shows were just for sake of publicity and not to sell the clothes shown. It's cool to have Madonna or Kylie Minogue wear HC pieces that look drool worthy and cost as much as a nice car, but that's where it ends. It's not a sound business move to make museum pieces just for the sake of creating something, I would guess that the current HC houses are rethining the wisdom of that strategy (which, as beautiful as it was to behold, led to downfall of most houses) and are going for the less crazy fantasy. Chanel does this and they allegedly make a truckload of money by selling Chanel-esque tweed day wear.
It's not fair to judge clothes just based on how spectacular a show is or how many ball gowns were shown anyhow. Personally I wonder what some people mean when they comment here that this or that designer "isn't couture". Well, it's actually a bit amusing and my internal monologue goes like, oh yeah? It was good enough for Chambre Syndicale, but not up to the standards of some internet commenter? Wow, they must know a lot about fashion...

__________________
mermaids sink cruiseliners
  Reply With Quote
21-11-2013
  4
scenester
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: FL
Gender: homme
Posts: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crying Diamonds View Post
Every season it comes about that a number of people posting on tFS will declare that certain designs or designers are not 'Haute Couture', they are wrong and I will be the first person to point this out - there is no specification for Haute Couture designs to be the extravagant fantasy-land visions of Galliano, I believe that is the opposite of what true Haute Couture stands for.

Couture is about exclusivity; of the extreme luxury of having something made by hand, entirely for you and you alone, as so only one person in the world can wear that garment and have it fit correctly.

To share my views on your given example of Bouchra Jarrar, I believe she is one of the only truly modern couturiers - she creates a wardrobe of understated, wearable pieces for a hyper-luxury market.

Galliano and McQueen are and were geniuses, they have created pieces that make people dream, and they have upped the fortunes of deserving houses, but they have all but killed couture in the long-run. Whereas Cristobal Balenciaga was, and now Bouchra Jarrar is, creating a 'more-affordable' couture to wear every day, Galliano and McQueen were creating pieces that cost a fortune and one could only wear once.

The expectation of Haute Couture now to be those show-stopping gowns has completely overshadowed the fact that it should really be an exclusive wardrobe concentrating on fit, quality, the wearer's comfort and satisfaction.
I agree completely. Couture is about construction, unfortunately many associate it with a ante garde or very ornate usually unwearable clothes. The reality is that the early couturiers had real clients, enough to support themselves, so their clothes had to cater to them. Financially privileged customers distanced themselves from couture because the looks were not in tune with emerging and prevailing trends (the New Look backlash). When Arnault and others began revitalizing these great couture houses they chose to make, or allow, the couture lines to become demonstrations of the designer's creativity forever condemning, sometimes, entire collections to their archives to eventually make their way into a museum. All the while their customer base was defecting to private seamstresses and/or high quality luxury ready to wear.

Few women today know the feeling of having not just a gown, but an entire wardrobe made for them. With I'd say more than 90% of the population conditioned to inferior products with luxury designer names and fleeting fashions, thanks to the democratization of fashion, it's harder to get women to feel the expenditure if really worth it.

I truly hope Jarrar's company takes off and inspires other labels to take the same approach to clothes. Yes, couture is an industry that literally hemorrhages money with no hope of recouping the loss (I'm not taking into account profits generated by other lines a house produces), but it could see a revitalization if women see it as more than just a designer's opportunity to turn their wildest concepts into reality and more as a viable alternative to OTR merchandise. Again I must applaud Vionnet's decision to do a more affordable couture line, which I'm sure brought in new clients and spurred sales. (Actually I'm going to see if I can find anything about how it performed).

I truly lament the downfall of the couture industry and hope that years from now there will be no discussions along the lines of "I remember when couture was alive" because there are zero buying customers.

  Reply With Quote
Reply
Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Tags
21st, century, couture, haute
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

monitoring_string = "058526dd2635cb6818386bfd373b82a4"


 
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:02 AM.
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
TheFashionSpot.com is a property of TotallyHer Media, LLC, an Evolve Media LLC company. ©2014 All rights reserved.