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17-09-2010
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dioramour's Avatar
 
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Couture Crashing
I have many questions concerning the Haute Couture. I've always known about the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture and most of it's very interesting history. My personal questions are about construction and specifically the embellishments.
(If some knowledgeable person wants to PM me, I'd love it!)

However, a bigger question in my mind is: What happens to the gorgeous and extremely expensive couture gowns after they are used in a fashion shoot such as Meisel's beautiful Water and Oil spread? (To name one of many "destructive" shoots.)
Are these $100,000.00 dollar dresses ruined for good? Does the "house" make a number of them to be trashed (if necessary) by stylists and photographers for the press it brings?

I don't want to see an end to this type of edit. I love them! But I can't help thinking about the article of clothing's condition afterwards. I've seen beaded, sequined and hand painted Versace gowns on models being tossed into chlorinated swimming pools and worse.. YIKES!
So does anyone know how this is financially possible? Are they THAT disposable? And what becomes of them?
TIA!

PS. To Salvatore..... it is SO sad that Lacroix "went under". I had hope until the last minutes that some benevolent backer would show up. IMO his extraordinary talent should not be wasted or overlooked.

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18-09-2010
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I'm not sure I know enough about Haute Couture to comment, but I can share with you the perspective from someone totally out of the loop.

Don't you think that at a certain point, couture collections are made and maintained for the simple prestige of producing them? It's the cost of doing business.

I also think that when your clientele is 2000 women around the world, and you only have a pool of 200 regular customers, you start to know who your customer is. Personally. Designers at that level know exactly who they're selling to, and much like other industries you create for them because to not create for them is social, political, and industrial suicide for the business. People at that level do more for a business than buy clothes--you're talking investors, backers, and personal word of mouth at a global level. It may not be profitable in the short run to keep producing couture, but in the long run it's essential for these houses to thrive and maintain their spot in the fashion hierarchy.

Ready to wear purchases will never replace the thrill of having a couture dress made specifically for you, no matter how wonderful it makes you look. The DIY movement in the States today is testament to that--people will choose to wear garments with meaning that may be of lower quality or less fashionable because their friends made them or they invested time in them themselves. Thank-you Project Runway--people are doin' it for themselves more and more and more, and the handcrafted aspect of it is a major factor of appeal.

Couture won't die. It's relevance goes up and down to we who watch it from a distance, but as the contemporary fashion industry has demonstrated, one doesn't need Haute Couture to be a successful enterprise. It's just designing for a different demographic who doesn't desire it in their lives or appreciate it's virtues. Today.

But give it another 10-15 years. What with the rising appreciation of home sewing, the natural default is to turn that appreciation to upscale endeavors in hopes of emulating. Couture will come back. With a vengeance.

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21-09-2010
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This is an interesting subject. I think in a way Couture kind of morphs with the needs of the time. Before there were no pret e porter collections because all clothes were custom made for the individual with the time honored techniques of hand sewing, of course the richer the person the more intricate, expensive and individual the garment would be.

Now a days I believe one of Couture's main purposes are not just to dress people but the keep fashion from becoming just a redundant necessity of life. Couture is the extreme, the 'heart' of the the aesthic aspect of fashion, kind of like what role international fine cuisine is to food in order to prevent the food industry from looking like a Mcdonalds take over (boring).

The creative maintenance Couture provides keeps the industry competative, giving designers something to work and keeping them on their toes at the same time.

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22-11-2010
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Interesting point Ayisha1978. I suppose as an extension to what you've mentioned Couture improves and develops design technique through competition (amongst couture houses) while keeping the traditional sewing methods alive for future generations.

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29-11-2010
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i would not say that haute couture is on its last legs, but it is def taking a back seat. we all have to remember that fashion is a business as well, and if you dont perform and bring in revenue, then you have no business to run. haute coture is simply not as profitable as collaborating with target or h&m. and with the global economy not exactly thriving, you will continue to see brands like valentino and lanvin collaborating with major retailers such as h&m and gap.

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04-12-2010
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To be honest I think couture is where things start. I think that the couture collections show specific trends that others may not be aware of and from these trends it sort of trickles down to others.

I'm thinking in particular about this past couture season and the gloves and skinny belt from Dior as well as the fur at Bouchra Jarrar that to me showed up in collections like Prabal Gurung SS11(belt) Elie Tahari Resort 11(gloves and fur) among others.

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06-12-2010
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Only a few socialites opt a haute couture as some ready-to-wear are as expensive, or they'd don a sleek and chic gown but pair it with pricey gems then they are walking $$$. So basically, they can look dashing, elegant and top dollar without really buying a haute couture which they'd only wear once because that's the golden rule. I'd say they are replaced by pricier gems and a designer gown with matching an equally expensive sac's and shoes...voila! you got the talk of the town right there....

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Last edited by nomorerack; 06-12-2010 at 06:32 PM.
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07-12-2010
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I definitely agree with Plex... it's true. In this economy, people are trying to be smart and save money. Who is honestly going to buy $6,000 dress? That's why the Lanvin & H&M collab was such a huge success. Lanvin still needs to eat and keep his brand alive. Designers do what they gotta do.

I still respect all of the designers collaborating with stores. It's a win/win situation.

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07-12-2010
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I feel that haute couture is there to show intricate techniques and to make a fashion show, a theatrical show. The perfect example is Alexander McQueen... all his fashion shows was not only a place for editors, bloggers, press, etcetc to shut up and sit down. It's also to amuse them with his creations.

Haute couture has been abused a lot by designers that are not up to McQueen, Galliano's level...


Just my opinion..

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11-12-2010
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The fact is that more and more houses are forced to leave the hc ring ... I remember how years ago the chambre syndicale (sp?) had the reduce the amout of dresses shown per season in order to get more designers to show for couture week.

The economic climate is not ok .. and yes, there are booming economies which help. I guess that we are forgetting about the artisans and craftmanship that goes into this ... like fine furniture or flawless china, I dont think itll go away.

What I do think is that they should open the training and somehow encourage rtw designers to start showing at couture shows ... believe me, with the money at hand, I wudnt hesitate it to enroll at Lesage and learn how to make all those exquisite details!

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17-12-2010
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^ My understanding is that Lesage and other HC artisanal workshops work on other than HC, yes? There's high-end stuff from houses like Balenciaga that somewhat blurs the line, I think ...

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21-12-2010
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I am bringing over a comment that I made in another thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by agee View Post
I guess this is where I come down on the matter:
Is haute couture relevant? No.

Is haute couture going to die? No.

If you were to ask me ten years ago what my definition of couture / haute couture was, the two terms that would have popped into my head are custom made and leading edge (directional). Now that I know a little something-something, I was correct about the custom-made part, but I was incorrect about the directional part, at least when it comes to today's fashion landscape.

To be a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, a designer has to do the following: have an establishment in Paris that employs at least 15 people (I think some or all of them have to be certified, meet a certain standard or something like that); custom make garments and present collections of thirty-five pieces or more twice a year. None of those three things have anything to do with a design house being directional and that is the basis of my asserting that haute couture is irrelevant.

Yes you can say that Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior are directional, but so are non-haute couturiers like Alexander McQueen, Prada, Marc Jacobs and Gareth Pugh. So being / remaining a member of the Chambre is a business decision, just like having a men's line, a perfume and cosmetic line or who you hire to photograph the campaign. As long as it is a viable business, there will be haute couturiers, and since I don't think that fashion loving millionaires and billionaires who want to don legacy labels like Chanel, Givenchy and Dior and actually experience the act of flying to Paris to be fitted by Monsieur Lagerfeld will become extinct any time soon, then haute couture is not an endangered enterprise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultramarine View Post
What I do think is that they should open the training and somehow encourage rtw designers to start showing at couture shows ... believe me, with the money at hand,
Co-sign. I wish, and perhaps only for entertainment purposes, that the top tier, rising star and critics' darling designers would see membership in the chambre and the responsibilities that go along with it as the fashion design equivalent of the Bocuse d'Or (without the competitive element), and that every five years or so, they join the Chambre for a few seasons and do the couture thing for street cred. Now I do think that having an establishment in Paris is a barrier, and let's face it the motive behind that is in part a French jobs program, although I don't think that the craftsperson segment of fashion is as material (in numbers) as it was fifty years ago, but I do think that an alternative is that there should be a Chambre defined certification that fifteen or so employees should have but that those who have it can work outside of Paris, and who knows, perhaps Ralph Lauren or Burberry may decide to open an operational hub there (if it is not already there), but it should not be a requirement.


Last edited by agee; 21-12-2010 at 03:23 PM.
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21-12-2010
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^ Hmm, I didn't realize the Paris bit ... how did Ralph Rucci meet that? Does using Paris workrooms count?

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22-12-2010
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We must not forget that the whole point of Haute Couture collections today is for the designers (as a matter of fact major ones, such as Galliano and Lagerfeld) is to show what has inspired them this season and what they have been orientating on for their pret-a-porter collections, which, as has been mentioned, are naturally more profitable rather than Haute Couture. Therefore, the Haute Couture collections are crucial to sustain the sophisticated image of the brand/designer and give magazines something to write about, and stylists - new ideas.

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05-01-2011
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na788...eature=related

There's 6 other parts there too.
I'd be really sad if couture died out. It's brilliant to see clothes done on insane budgets like that.

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