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07-11-2007
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^They might profit, but since LVMH owns both, they can definitely afford to lose all the money and not sell a single gown. LVMH's really putting their marketing into hyperdrive. Look at Dior's $2 million (I think?) couture show and Fendi's $10 million Great Wall of China show.

I just don't think they have large enough customer bases to make any money. However, we can also look at a house like Valentino, where the shows are usually of a lower key production-wise, but they still have incredibly good customers, like that one Middle Eastern woman some article was talking about who orders 30-40 dresses from Valentino HC a season.

And, while slightly beside the point, how many oil tycoon's wives do you know who regularly buy 8-foot wide dresses?

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07-11-2007
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In class we learned that the government does pays for the haute couture houses. And couture will never die out because haute couture help promote chanel/dior/givenchy/lacroix etc. it is also another way for designers to advertise thier rtw other lines brand names. but like other post said they never make enough money to hold on thier own. and some people come to paris JUST to see the couture shows etc..

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07-11-2007
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i don't think haute couture will die out. it will probably still continue dwindling in numbers but it won't die out completely. haute couture is wonderful <3

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07-11-2007
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I just found this whilst trawling the web...

'Donald Potard, president of Jean-Paul Gaultier, has tentatively suggested a way to modernise and so rescue haute couture. Mr Potard has floated the idea of a halfway house between couture and ready-to-wear - outfits would be displayed in stores (which haute couture is not) but then be made to order, albeit with one fitting rather than three or four.

A similar "hybrid" idea is being considered at the house of Emanuel Ungaro.'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/st...255550,00.html

the article was written three years ago however, and nothing seems to have happened... maybe they're still thinking about it...

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08-11-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freakin_viet View Post
In class we learned that the government does pays for the haute couture houses. And couture will never die out because haute couture help promote chanel/dior/givenchy/lacroix etc. it is also another way for designers to advertise thier rtw other lines brand names. but like other post said they never make enough money to hold on thier own. and some people come to paris JUST to see the couture shows etc..
you're right, the French government see it as part of the culture (which it is!) and wants to protect the industry, therefore they pay the expenses for French Couture Houses. Good on them.

Generally I dont think enough importance is placed on fashion today... strange thing to say, but people still believe that fashion is frivolous, even though we all wear clothes... and clothes have a huge social implication. True quality is such a rare thing, its important that couture lives on in order to set the highest of standards and gives us something to aspire to.

I spoke to someone today about the waste issue... for some reason I thought that Couture created a lot of waste... maybe because we associate extravagance with waste (?) ...anyway, she pointed out that there is no waste in Couture, its actually very economical with materials since only what is needed is produced. Its the rag trade ..and the Primark end of the market that creates all the waste and encourages a throw away society...

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01-05-2010
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I know this is an old thread but I read a VERY interesting article from the Wall Street Journal today.

Quote:
Survival of the Finest
With Americans and Europeans forgoing couture for ready-to-wear, design houses are looking to the Middle East and Russia to fill the void. Is this couture’s swan song?

They had flown to Paris from St. Petersburg, Jakarta, Abu Dhabi and Monaco for the afternoon customers-only showing of Christian Dior spring/ summer 2010 that took place the second day of couture week in January. Older ladies with sprayed helmets of hair and cascades of diamonds nestled on white wooden folding chairs next to girls in their 20s in five-inch stilettos with sable trench coats or ostrich jackets trimmed in chinchilla. “We are here not just to look, but to buy,” said Svetlana Metkina, 36, a Russian actress who is married to a producer and keeps an apartment in Paris as well as homes in Moscow and Los Angeles. She dropped her BlackBerry into the $23,000 purple snakeskin Birkin bag that lay at her feet as the models began their procession in John Galliano’s floor-sweeping dresses inspired by 19th-century riding costumes. “We are the only ones crazy enough to take them seriously,” she whispered. “They appreciate that, especially now.”


A model walks the runway at Valentino’s Garden of Eden–inspired spring/summer 2010 couture show.

It’s no wonder Metkina senses the couture houses are humbled. These are unsettled times for everyone in the business of luxury, but the challenges facing this rarefied world are as unique as a $350,000 hand-beaded pistachio silk ball gown with an embroidered peplum. With buyers in retreat, its traditional customers aging or dying, and critics increasingly carping about its irrelevance, the couture economy, always delicate, now is more precarious than ever, leaving many to wonder whether there is a customer base left for couture.


Green sequin heels by Givenchy (with a nod to Dorothy) await a model’s feet.

Gone are the high-class tastes of old-world American society, the blue-blooded ladies who lunched and hosted benefits and social events in couture daywear having been replaced by new-world billionaires—from the Middle East and Russia. For this very moneyed class, it’s less about the luxuriousness of wearing exquisite handmade to-order creations and more about conspicuous consumption and making museums out of their closets. But couture is much more than a product. It’s a creative engine for an entire brand, a marketing tool, the foundation of an image on a profound, long-term level. Middle Easterners and Russians don’t bring couture the publicity and recognition it needs to maintain its allure.

Furthermore, couture designers are faced with two other problems: the overall shift of young people everywhere to a more casual style and the fact that many of the ready-to-wear companies are raising quality and prices and keeping volume low (and exclusivity high), precisely to lure a new generation of wealthy buyers, exactly those who years ago would have probably bought couture.


A Givenchy model gets deep red lipstick before the show.

All of this has forced designers to rethink couture. Some, like Valentino and Givenchy, are taking radical steps to modernize and appeal to younger women. Others are seeking to bridge the gap through a new movement: made-for-occasion couture, which mostly caters to the celebrities in need of gowns each Hollywood awards season. They may not pay for the couture gowns they wear, but they walk red carpets and provide fashion houses with a global platform to keep couture on everyone’s radar. Elie Saab, though much of the industry turns its nose up at his intricately detailed beaded creations, figured this out years ago. Armani, Gucci and Versace are playing catch-up.

To call couture a business has long seemed generous. The age-old art of handmaking and custom-fitting intricate one-of-a-kind garments surely would have died out by the late 1980s had corporations such as Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy not scooped up some of the few remaining brands. The multinationals placed the ateliers—workrooms with dozens of European-trained craftspeople—at the top of a newly created fashion food chain, recasting them as artistic laboratories and image drivers for the real potential profit centers: ready-to-wear, accessories and perfumes. Still officially sanctioned by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (there are 11 French houses left, half of them niche players with tiny followings, and several foreign “correspondent” members), the ateliers continue to churn out confections that defy gravity and the imagination, but contributing to the bottom line has long been secondary. Numbers are as hard to come by as the dresses themselves, but experts say that selling several dozen a season—that’s all even the biggest houses claim—does little more than take the edge off the staggering costs of staging massive multimillion-dollar fashion shows and maintaining the staff of trained embroiderers, pattern-cutters and tailors. “Admittedly, couture is not something that is easy to look at as a mere balance-sheet calculation,” says Stefano Sassi, CEO of Valentino, an associate correspondent Syndicale member.
wsj.com

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01-05-2010
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Quote:

Women (and a few men) take in Chanel’s spring/ summer 2010 couture collection at Paris’s Pavillon Cambon
Capucines.


The label says it has 1,000 “active” customers and its “workshop is fully booked this season.”
That math has gotten even sketchier in recent years, with Americans and the Japanese having dropped out of the couture market almost entirely. Despite robust 2009 Wall Street bonuses, no one is buying, they say. “The U.S. is no longer a volume player,” Dior CEO Sidney Toledano notes. That may be a gross understatement: While analysts say the luxury market is showing signs of improvement this spring, at the recent couture shows, one New York woman who has come to the couture presentations as a major buyer for nearly two decades accompanied by her husband, a well-known financier, saw no one she knew from home. The show had been brought back to the Dior salon last year from its grand tent on the grounds of the Rodin Museum as a way to “return the company to its roots” (to discuss cost-cutting would be gauche), but for the financier’s wife, who shook her highlighted bob with distress, it had lost something. “It makes me feel even more like a dying breed,” she said, as she joined the crowd descending the winding staircase at the center of the atelier after the show.


Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld at his couture show.

Rattling as well, she said, was the absence of Christian Lacroix in the couture show lineup—the eccentric designer’s final couture presentation was in July. Lacroix, the only house that LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault had ever started from nothing, never cultivated a viable accessories or ready-to-wear business and had not shown a profit in its 22-year history. LVMH sold it in 2005 to the Falic Group, a Florida-based duty-free retailer, but the recession dealt it a death blow. (Falic could not be reached for comment.)

For most fashion houses anchored by couture, however, the cultural shift toward more casual dressing in much of the Western world, even among the wealthiest segment of the population, is a much darker cloud on their horizon.

To the younger generation, the very notion of couture seems old-fashioned and fusty, a relic of the Betsy Bloomingdale and Nancy Reagan era. Even women like private banker Lizzie Tisch, 37, married to Loews Hotels chairman Jonathan Tisch and chair of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Friends of the Costume Institute, finds no reason to don the voluminous, ornate creations that emerge from the ateliers. She has never even been to Paris for the couture collections and can’t imagine having time for the fittings. “For the last two years, I’ve worn a short dress to the costume ball,” she says, referring to the event at the museum that is widely considered the most showy of the New York social season. “Couture is not really something my friends and I think about for ourselves.”


Models get last-minute fixes before walking in the Armani Privé show.

The rise of new high-end designers and the re-engineering of older ready-to-wear brands also has hastened the unraveling of couture. Such companies price their wares in the low-to-mid-thousands, produce a small number of garments to preserve exclusivity, and have none of the costs associated with maintaining the ateliers or staging couture shows. New names like Rodarte and Proenza Schouler resonate more with younger customers, and Lanvin and Balmain, both of which shut their ateliers years ago to concentrate on ready-to-wear, have in recent years become the favorites among the social set. “I can buy a Balmain jacket off the rack at Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman that I can wear with my J. Crew T-shirt and I’m not worried I’ll see it on someone else,” Tisch says, “so what’s the point of buying couture?”

Creative artistry was on full display at the spring/summer 2010 couture shows in January. WSJ. sent veteran photojournalist Derek Hudson behind the scenes to capture every last detail both on and off the runway.

“Couture has become completely irrelevant,” says Oscar de la Renta, whose high end ready-to-wear and accessories business is widely envied by other companies for its loyal upper-crust customer. He points out that the Gucci Group, owned by Paris-based conglomerate PPR, doesn’t have a couture clothing operation in its luxury portfolio, which includes Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga. Even Yves St. Laurent, one of the original members of the Syndicale, stopped producing a couture line in 2002, three years after Gucci bought it. De la Renta, who was Balmain’s couture designer from 1993 until 2002 (the atelier was disbanded soon after he left), is certain that today Chanel is the only major brand whose couture operation runs even modestly in the black, due to a tiny but fierce following for its suits, which cost as much as $90,000. Chanel’s president of fashion activities, Bruno Pavlovsky, says between 30 and 50 percent of their couture looks sold are daywear (that’s higher than everyone else), which does make their couture business more viable.

“Couture isn’t necessary, even to promote the brand,” De la Renta says. “Customers are smart. They know that a $10,000 wedding dress will look as beautiful as a $1 million wedding dress. Maybe it will not be finished the same way inside, but who will know?”
wsj.com

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01-05-2010
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A model in a short couture dress by Elie Saab. Anna Kendrick and Rachel McAdams borrowed gowns from his spring/summer 2010 collection for this year’s Oscars.

For some buyers, the rising cost of a couture gown has elevated the purchase to high art. The designers themselves have long regarded couture as the fullest expression of their creativity. “It’s where we explore new fabrics and new looks,” says Pavlovsky. “Couture is part of [Chanel’s] DNA. We have a customer who wants that kind of perfection and that is core to us.” And the designers count on these women to see the value. “If I didn’t put it up there with painting or sculpture, I don’t know if I’d be able to do it,” says Leona Kornej, a couture client in her 30s from Monaco who wore a high-necked white suit and an array of large diamonds to the Chanel show, where guests sat on beige suede cubes as creamy colors and diaphanous fabrics studded with intricate detail floated down the runway.


A Dior model wears a Victorian-influenced hat and veil.

That couture attracts a crowd that considers it above the filthy lucre of commerce was obvious at the Givenchy show. “Look at this,” said Fabrizio Malverdi, CEO of Givenchy Couture, as he edged his way through the jammed-in bodies waiting outside the ornate 19th-century ballroom of the Westin hotel. Men in discreet black suits with Secret Service–style earpieces tried to keep the corridors clear, but the sleek invitees—in head-to-toe black and plenty of the street-tough style that Givenchy’s designer, Riccardo Tisci, has made into a hit in recent seasons—barely glanced at them. With their military braid and studded $1,700 ankle boots, these are not the fashion wannabes who crowd the prêt-à-porter showings. “These kinds of people you can’t reach except with the couture,” Malverdi said, shaking his head. “And once you lose the ateliers, you lose this. You can’t get it back, you can’t recapture it.”

Besides, the CEOs say, they are now able to defray at least some of the associated costs by selling couture creations in places pioneers Pierre Balmain and Elsa Schiaparelli would never have dreamed of. Executives at Givenchy, Dior, Valentino and Chanel agree that the most important region for couture is now the Middle East. As much as 30 percent of all sales come from countries such as the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi), Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to Bain Consulting. “Thirty years ago, the made-to-measure business was split evenly between the U.S. and Europe,” Bain partner Claudia D’Arpizio says.


A model in an intricate look from Dior.

The emergence of Elie Saab, a Lebanese couturier who began making custom clothing in his native Beirut in 1982 when he was 18 and became a Syndicale correspondent member in 2006, is perhaps the most revealing recent development in the insular couture world. Unlike wealthy American and European women, who these days have little use for a body-hugging $600,000 floor-length lace sheath with a hand-embroidered train made of hundreds of tiny beaded silk blossoms, a sheikh’s wife is likely to pick up half a dozen such gowns each season, Saab, 45, says the day before his January runway show. Saab isn’t taken very seriously by American and European critics because his designs revolve around a small number of classic silhouettes instead of the new and shocking shapes that often emerge from couture week, but his business savvy is revered. “He knows what those women want and they are real customers,” says De la Renta, who recently opened a store in Dubai.

“For the people we deal with, who might have $10 billion or $20 billion, a slight downturn in the economy is not really significant,” Saab says, as he sips an espresso at his shiny black slab desk in the elegant travertine-lined mansion that houses his Paris offices, the atelier and a Saab retail store. “Your wife will not stop buying beautiful dresses. She will still wear one to a wedding or a private dinner party and then put it in her closet and never wear it again.” For a particularly important event, all the women of the family will be dressed by Saab—mother, daughter, grandmother. Emilie Legendre, who manages client contact for the company, flies to dozens of events annually to chaperone dresses and ensure that the customer’s every need is met. “It’s probably the most intensive service business in the world,” Saab says.


Elie Saab fits a model before his show.

A day later, at his show, hundreds of chic women, most in their 20s and 30s, poured into the 1,200-seat Théâtre National de Chaillot, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, tottering in ice-pick-high heels and clutching exotic furs. These represented only a small portion of the clientele, Saab notes. “Most of the people we deal with would not be comfortable being seen out in public.” Still, even with a customer base that may rival Chanel’s for loyalty, Saab has found it hard in the current climate to establish a ready to wear and accessories business, key to building a global empire. He offers a line of day dresses that cost upward of $3,000, as well as shoes and bags, but concedes it is a small part of the company’s revenue. With the economy weak, he is reluctant to open retail shops, without which it is virtually impossible to create a scalable international profile. “I had always assumed I would start that soon, perhaps with a store in New York, but now I think the only place that has appeal is Rodeo Drive,” he says.
wsj.com

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01-05-2010
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At Dior’s equestrian-inspired couture show, John Galliano joins in.

That Saab would consider an L.A. outpost before opening a Madison Avenue boutique bespeaks the symbiotic relationship of couture and the red carpet. Saab didn’t appear on the fashion industry radar until 2002, though he had had a significant Middle Eastern following for decades; that was the year Halle Berry wore one of his revealing embroidered gowns to the Oscars (and won Best Actress). Celebrities, of course, don’t pay for the dresses they borrow and require a great deal of expensive customer service, such as press liaisons and in-hotel fittings. “Still,” Saab says, “it is a very efficient use of resources. Your real customers are deeply affected by that.”


A model poses in Givenchy couture.

The shriveled U.S. market for couture means more than just selling fewer dresses here; it has resulted in an incalculable loss of exposure. American socialites have become international celebrities, which means they attract photographers, which in turn means free publicity. Couture shows still get plenty of attention in magazines and on blogs, but “the days of having style icons like Babe Paley and Marella Agnelli as living billboards for couture are over,” says Robert Burke of luxury-consulting firm RBA in New York. Which is why the lure of award-show publicity for custom designs has suddenly proven irresistible to designers besides Saab.

Versace gave up its associate correspondent Syndicale status in 2003 and no longer produces a couture collection per se, but displays a small selection of custom gowns in Paris during couture week in a private suite at the Hotel Plaza Athénée. On a windy January morning, black-clad staff members led visitors, including Kanye West’s companion, Amber Rose, around the dozen or so dramatically lit mannequins as waiters served cappuccino and petits fours. At a low table at one end of the room, representatives from a French cellular phone company demonstrated a joint venture with Versace, $5,000-plus phones adorned with marble inlays in some of the fashion line’s signature shades, including aqua and pink. “We are selling a couture lifestyle and that has always had a connection to Hollywood,” an assistant explained.

Gucci, one of the world’s mega-brands with $3 billion a year in sales, also seems to want to bolster its Hollywood couture bona fides. Just the day before the January shows ended, Women’s Wear Daily, fashion’s trade publication, reported that the brand would launch a couture label to cater to the award-show crowd on an appointment-only basis.


Designer Giorgio Armani surrounded by models following his Armani Privé couture show.

Made-for-occasion women’s wear has been a part of Armani’s strategy as well since 2004, if only as a way to shore up a red-carpet presence that feeds downstream revenue to the designer’s well-established lower-end labels, including Emporio Armani and A/X. The Milan-based designer is a correspondent Syndicale member and shows the Armani Privé line in Paris during couture week. Even its presentation had the glittery feel of a Hollywood party. In the hall outside the Palais de Chaillot, waiters served preshow champagne and canapés to several hundred guests and pretended not to notice a trio of Russian-heiress types smuggling drinks to their seats.

For Valentino, couture these days is far more of a high-stakes game, a wager on the company’s very existence. Its founder, designer Valentino Garavani, built a lavish “maison de couture” in Rome in the 1960s that attracted fashion icons such as Jackie Kennedy, and the brand came to define the jet-setting formality of made-to-measure. He rolled out a ready-to-wear line in 1970, but was unable to modernize his aesthetic as the 1990s progressed and the label, which also has a lower-priced line, Red, languished. Permira, a private equity fund, bought the company in 2005.
wsj.com

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01-05-2010
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A Dior model in top hat, lace veil and expertly tailored jacket and skirt. “Couture is still at the heart of [Dior’s] business and always will be,” CEO Sidney Toledano says. The ateliers, he insists, let designers create a boundless vision that infuses the rest of the brand, however subtly.

Travails at Valentino since then illustrate the difficulty of using couture to reposition an iconic brand, especially now. The first post-Valentino designer, Alessandra Facchinetti, produced new couture silhouettes that alienated what remained of Valentino’s original customer base without winning over younger converts quickly enough. She was replaced in 2008 by longtime Valentino accessories team Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, whose collections then aimed at calming down the few ladies who still lunch. But this season, modernization could be put off no longer.

As critics sat silently, swaying wall projections of trees in spring bloom turned the Couvent des Cordeliers, the 13th-century convent that is now a museum of anatomical drawings, into an animated orchard. Models in ruched chiffon leggings and neon-streaked butterfly ensembles with mask-like slashes of blue makeup across their eyes strode the runway. There was hardly a glimpse of Valentino red—the shade that forever will be associated with Valentino worshipper Nancy Reagan—on the catwalk. “Definitely not something for the ‘ladies,’ ” said one French critic.

On his Facebook page days later, Valentino’s longtime partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, commenting on the show, said he and the designer would “have to distance ourselves from this ridiculous circus,” but Sassi, the CEO, was unbowed. “We cannot afford to stay in the past,” he said in an interview two days before at the company’s baroque maison particulier on the Place Vendôme. A floor above, tailors and seamstresses fussed with the final fittings. “We have to use the hands of the ladies in the atelier to make something that shows a sensitivity to who we want to speak to today,” Sassi said, “and that is the daughter of yesterday’s jet-setter.” Tell that to the critics. While some gave the design duo credit for putting forth a show with a “transporting” feel, most were unimpressed. WWD wrote that the show “seemed too desperate to be achingly cool.” And asked, “Where in this fantasy world was the essence of Valentino?”


Fabrics and sewing supplies fill a table.

Givenchy has taken a different tack in stimulating its couture business. One of the three original Syndicale members still making couture (the other two are Dior and Chanel), the 58-year-old brand reached its height in the same era as Valentino, with designs for women like Audrey Hepburn. But by 1995, when founder Hubert Givenchy himself retired, both its couture and ready-to-wear were considered anachronistic. None of the designers LVMH installed over the next decade (the list included a pre-Dior John Galliano and the recently deceased Alexander McQueen) were able to jump-start it.

In 2005, a new team, led by Tisci, seized on a novel strategy: concentrate on fixing ready-to-wear and then worry about couture. Many in the fashion world say the approach is working—Tisci’s vision won critics over within a few seasons, and Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune wrote that the spring/summer 2010 couture collection “spun the message that Givenchy has the true spirit of haute couture—but with a jerky exhilarating 21st-century vibe.” CEO Fabrizio Malverdi said the revived interest from couture customers has now given the brand the synergy it needs.


A custom-made Versace gown on display at the Hotel Plaza Athénée.

Rumors of couture’s death are as perennial as the collections themselves, but today it seems no easier to predict the future than to guess what Karl Lagerfeld will come up with next. It’s too soon to say whether the fashion houses are doing enough to successfully adjust to couture’s new realities. Sheikhs’ wives and the girlfriends of Russian oligarchs aren’t enough to make couture truly thrive again and it’s doubtful Americans will ever again make up the majority of couture’s customer base, but couture doesn’t play by the rules of the marketplace and that, its champions say, is what sets it apart from the rest of fashion and the watered-down concept of mass luxury. “You can’t underestimate the undying dedication by a small group of people to an underlying art,” luxury consultant and former director at Bergdorf Goodman Robert Burke says. “Couture is more than a transaction for the people who make it and buy it; it’s a piece of history.”
wsj.com

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02-05-2010
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This is very interesting, as you can see from my username i have a passion for this topic and it is a situation that i think many other people dont appreciate or understand

- do you think Couture is a necessary part of the fashion machine, or could the industry function without it? (the main arguement being that Couture shows 'sell a dream' and promote perfume & accessories sales)

The Couture garment is a display of a designer's true talent, not only the aesthetics of the garment, but of the actual construction - sure the fashion industry could "function" without it, but would the magazine editorials be as good to look at? These garments are a tie to the past, to the origins of the larger houses.

- can the extravagance be justified in today's environmentally concious society?
I believe it can, perhaps i am biased due to my extreme love of couture garments, but i believe that it is worth every cent. The best thing about couture is the fact they are one of a kind pieces, they are special, made to fit you, designed to your specifications, and hand sewn - very few ateliers use sewing machines (normally only one in a work room) and every little tailor's tack and all the final stitching is done by hand, not to mention embellishment and the attention to detail that is put in when it come to working with patterns on seams or the large amounts of time it takes to produce a toile, have fittings, before even touching the actual fabric for the final garment. Its this love and attention that is worth more than any amount of money, think of the feeling you would feel when putting this garment on - or even seeing it hang in your wardrobe.
If anything i believe the mass produced less than satisfactory quality "fast fashion" is less justifiable - as these garments fall apart before the end of the season. whereas a well made garment, though it is more expensive. is far more economical in the end.

- can unworn garments really be called 'fashion'? Collin McDowell writes in his book 'The designer scam'.. "...the business of dress design is just that: business. The only good dress, as the rag trade cynics well know, is the bought dress."
I believe that especially with couture, if you own it. you should wear it. It deserves to be worn, to be admired.
And in turn, passed on to sons and daughters.
As long as it is worn once, it has been seen, it has been appreciated.
It is art, it is fashion.

- Do any of you aspire to own/wear Couture? If you had the money, would you do so? (do you know how much it costs?)

I'm currently in the process of selecting a vintage couture gown to begin my collection.
I know how much it costs.

- should there be a market level in between couture and r-t-w?
Why should there be?
What could go in between the two to separate them and define this new market?
Would it be mass produced garments in a couture style and fabric, but no longer custom made to fit or made just for the individual client?

- can anyone forsee a time when Couture may die out?
It will only die if consumers stop buying it, because then designers will stop making it.
Thank god for the magazine industry as this is a reason for the designers to continue it.
I think couture is only sleeping, there is still royals and nobles in the east that continue to buy couture garments.
Hopefully it will awake soon rather than falling into an eternal slumber
I just pray it does not pass away in my lifetime..

feel free to PM me if you have any more questions.

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yours truly, madeleine louise
www.wekilledcouture.com

Last edited by wekilledcouture; 02-05-2010 at 01:53 AM.
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02-05-2010
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UGHHH
just realised how old this thread is..

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02-05-2010
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great (old) topic that still has a lot of relevance. couture remains relevant in the fast-fashion instant-gratification society that we live in mainly because it gives us something else to immerse ourselves into twice yearly to keep the lifestyle we associate with fashion alive and relevant. it's like the summer television show for hbo, an indy music festival, or a niche art show in miami. it keeps us interested in the larger vision of fashion and it keeps the conversation going between seasons. for its survival it would have to admit some more exciting -- and yes, controversial -- members that have the high-spending customer that we formerly associate with the couture. in today's society, someone critiqued it best by saying, women no longer need custom garments when they can customize their bodies -- through dieting, cosmetic surgery, et al -- to the garments they choose. the tens of thousands of dollars these women spend on trainers and nutrionists and dermatologists and surgeons -- these folks are simply on the payroll now -- has replaced the tens of thousands of dollars they once spent on a chanel day suit. however, these women also have mountains more money than the old couture client once had. formerly, the ladies who lunched could cavort on the upper east side or belgravia or the 16th arrondissement with a nest egg of $40M or so and buy couture every year and have multiple homes. these same women now have billions of dollars to play with. their husbands earn (and sometimes lose) a billion in a year. they can afford the couture along side everything else without blinking, but they rather spend it on andrew gn or balmain or jaeger or oscar or bottega or stella or hermes or the row because it does the same thing. it's crazily exclusive, but those who have money instantly recognize it like the once did the works from the great couture houses. until the couture figures this out and resets/rejiggers the fashion calendar, it's on a path to irrelevance like the newspaper and the music video. they would need to convince big stars to wear couture again. they would need to convince big houses to show their most creative stuff -- from the gold robot leggings at balenciaga to the post-punk mash-up gowns at rodarte to the chain-sawed gowns at viktor and rolf to the gold-infused furs at fendi to the super-experimental gowns at gareth pugh to the decontructed perfection at haider ackerman -- during couture week and fill their ready-to-wear shows with the wearable stuff they now reserve for pre-fall and resort.

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Last edited by mikeijames; 02-05-2010 at 04:06 AM.
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05-05-2010
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Is Couture Over? Chanel & Oscar De La Renta debate couture.
Quote:
"COUTURE has become completely irrelevant," Oscar de la Renta, Balmain's couture designer for nine years, said this week. "Customers are smart. They know that a $10,000 wedding dress will look as beautiful as a $1 million wedding dress. Maybe it will not be finished the same way inside, but who will know?"

Executives at Givenchy, Christian Dior, Valentino and Chanel say the market isn't diminishing but shifting, with greater demand than ever before in the Middle East. 30 per cent of all sales come from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to Bain Consulting.

"For the people we deal with, who might have $10 billion or $20 billion, a slight downturn in the economy is not really significant," Elie Saab stated.

And he is not the only designer standing up for couture. Givenchy ceo Fabrizio Malverdi believes there is a type of customer who cannot be lured to buy off the rack - "These kinds of people you can't reach except with the couture," Malverdi protested to the Wall Street Journal. "And once you lose the ateliers, you lose this. You can't get it back, you can't recapture it."

And as for perhaps the most watched couture label, Chanel's Bruno Pavlosky insists couture is essential to the brand "It's where we explore new fabrics and new looks," he says "Couture is part of Chanel's DNA. We have a customer who wants that kind of perfection and that is core to us."
source: vogue.com
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05-05-2010
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Quote:
"Customers are smart. They know that a $10,000 wedding dress will look as beautiful as a $1 million wedding dress. Maybe it will not be finished the same way inside, but who will know?"
Excuse meeee??????????????????? I'm never buying ODR again in my life. I can't buy something that comes from someone who thinks finishing touches are not important.

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