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06-05-2010
  61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Au Courant Daily View Post
but it's more a cachet piece for designer houses to be able to say that their couture arm is still running...
That's very true, and the reason I think we'll be unlikely to see many of the couture houses close down any time soon. At the end of the day, fashion is about branding and you can't really get any more exclusive than the group selected to be considered haute couture, it would be a massive hit to their image for any of these houses to let couture go...

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06-05-2010
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it won´t die firstly all these numbers of clients are speculations noone but the houses know what and how many they sell so a reported number of x does not mean much .and to assume the number by the clients you see at the shows or who talk about it is all there is is again an assumption the majority do not attend and will never speak publicly about it

secondly the prices for the clothes in that wsj article ar laughable. yes some houses have done confections in these ranges but to present it as the norm is ridiculous and because of this bad journalism and research it is hard for me to take the article seriously.

besides i can guarante you the houses do not care where the money is coming from middle east russia usa europa asia or timbuktu . the article has a tone like it is sad and a tragedy that the clientbase shifted from west to east again not what i call a good article

maybe the days of huge media spectacles and huge shows are numbered and the couture will go back to its roots (what i personally do not see as a bad thing) as long as their are customers left they will deliver and may that be only be by special orders without any show and just custom designed pieces that are designed for that clients only (like they already do behind the scenes apart from the shown and then altered to specification models)

and as long as a celebrity wants couture and the labels want publicity and indirectly profit from HC it is here to stay

plus couture is timeless so the talk about todays fast fashion etc is partly irrelevant (besides mostly HC customers today buy both anyway so it is not one or the other it is i buy this from HC plus all the hot season items be that balmain lanvin etc )HC mostly does not follow trends thus it is not passe- like rtw sometimes after one seasonis -a lot of couture pieces can be worn stored a decade and then when put out again look brand new again and how often can we say that about rtw (just compare ysl HC from the 80´s and then RTW from the same decade what would you still wear?

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Last edited by lilach; 06-05-2010 at 04:12 PM.
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08-05-2010
  63
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It depends one the customers and the houses. I know a few couture clients who are friends of mine, they buy evening dresses and buy for big weddings and parties where they do want to stand out or others to talk about.

Dior & Chanel start from 30,000 Euros
Stephane Rolland starts from 18,000 Euros but evening dresses are over 30,000 Euros
Elie Saab 18,000 Euro

I think even with couture, you have many clients at Elie Saab because of the reasonable prices but for something more different Dior & Chanel it is becuase you will buy 1 dress at them paying the same amount for 3 or 4 dresses at Elie Saab.

Yes I do think couture is revelant in this world, many people are looking for one of a kind piece but not for such prices.

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08-05-2010
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Haute Couture as the name and as the event, of course is dying, but the concept it is still alive, I mean we have designers like Nicolas Ghesquiere selling only one or two same dresses from each look of the collection, and lots of those are only done by order, as Alexander Mcqueen an Olivier Thyeskyens. People is still very attracted by the luxury and exclusivity of Haute couture, but the problem is that haute couture shows are becoming really really boring, something creative- less, with no interest.

Haute couture is used in most of the houses to maintain the name of the house, as a tool of marketing, but I think in those days Pret a porter is little by little taking the place of Haute Couture, as I named before Balenciaga is the clear example, his Pret a porter shows are just for very few buyers, Nicolas, as John Galliano did in Dior with Haute couture, uses Pret a porter shows to experiment with the shapes and the materials, and then he offers to his customers something more softer and wearable in the prefall, resort and capsule collection.

Another thing is that being haute couture something so French, and something managed by a French organization, the government couldn´t care less about it, I know that in those crisis time it would be very controversial to help financially to a Haute Couture house, but I am sure that the French government and the minister of culture could help a lot more (I don´t mean financially) to Christian Lacroix.


Last edited by bbofbalenciaga; 08-05-2010 at 06:14 AM.
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08-05-2010
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^bbofbalenciaga, I like a lot of what you said. So here's my two cents, mostly a repeat of what I said in this thread two years (!) ago.

First: why does everyone value haute couture so much? Yes, they are beautiful clothes, crafted in the finest way possible by the best-trained artisans the world has to offer. Yes, the clothes fit the body in a way that maybe is only possible after three fittings. And yes, the clothes are exclusively available to such a tiny clientele that only the copiously wealthy and fashion-conscious.

However, what's the inherent value in the label "Haute Couture"? It's just a name. A Givenchy Haute Couture evening dress may be laden with beading and embroidery and embellishment, but is it noticeably better than a Balenciaga ready-to-wear gown of exceedingly high quality? The $60,000 Givenchy may be fitted to your body a few times by talented seamstresses, but the $30,000 Balenciaga could just as easily be taken to an expensive tailor to achieve the same effect.

Today pręt-ŕ-porter has replaced haute couture. Haute couture no longer sets the trends in fashion. In fact, it has in most cases today become just a matronly older sister to ready-to-wear, mimicking it while adding sleeves an lower hemlines for the express reason to appeal to its client base of mostly older women. Why should we put such reverence on haute couture when ready-to-wear can do the same thing cheaper?

Several users in this thread claim that haute couture is worthier of calling itself "art" compared to ready-to-wear. Why and how? Because it's more expensive? Expense doesn't necessarily mean better. If fashion is judged by how it reflects the times, how does a couture skirt suit made of the finest materials say "this is 2010" any better than a RTW version. Because it's finer crafted? Ready-to-wear often uses the same techniques, but avoids the cost by not limiting itself to constructing just one instance of each dress. Because it's less wearable? It's easy to think of some of Galliano's older work at Dior and think that it's only possible to in the realm of haute couture. However, that is completely untrue. Look at Theysken's feathery fantasies in his debut at Nina Ricci or McQueen's eveningwear literally dripping with flowers in spring of '07.

Fashion, even haute couture, isn't art: it is design. By attempting to "elevate" fashion to the level of art, it's only devaluing design, which should be respected for its own merits. And if one is evaluating clothes again based on their relevance in fashion, couture is clearly not the winner. The calendar puts RTW shows fully months in advance, leaving couture to only elaborate on the themes of the season put forth a quarter of a year earlier. Ironically, this makes the more respected segment of fashion the less interesting of the two. Also, there is a false perception that fashion can only exist because of the fine craft and artistry of haute couture. Seriously? Do we really believe that removing a label will make the rich dress themselves in rags?

Glamourwise, haute couture has the upper hand. It's exclusive enough that only wives of top executives and royalty can afford to buy it, and only A-list celebrities have the clout to borrow it. The term "Haute Couture" has a glamour instilled in it that "pręt-ŕ-porter" can only have when it's used between English words.

Haute couture is a total anachronism in today's society, entrenched in its useless rules (35 silhouettes a season two times a year, X number of seamstresses working in an atelier in Paris, etc.) while ready-to-wear can do exactly the same thing without quite the elitism that's omnipresent in the rarified world of haute couture.

I believe the fashion world is sticking up for haute couture without a true idea of its relevance, or rather lack thereof. If it exists to give us fantasy, who can say they haven't been enthralled by a ready-to-wear collection with just as many bells and whistles. If it exists to continue the livelihood of French artisans, must we pretend RTW traffics only in plain cotton shifts? If it exists to clothe the rich in something to distinguish themselves from the unwashed masses, why should we even care?

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09-05-2010
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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 is 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.


Last edited by agee; 09-05-2010 at 12:50 PM.
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09-05-2010
  67
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I think Haute Couture is just going through a period in which it is struggling to re-define itself. I don't think it is dying. Honestly, I'm a little tired of reading, even seeing (as I don't even bother reading them anymore), these articles about "Couture's Last Breath," etc. Nobody is saying anything new...I've essentially been reading this same article for years.

Looking back at Haute Couture from, say, the early 2000's to about 2006, I feel like it really had an identity. Sure Ready-to-Wear had Nicholas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga, Olivier Theyskens at Rochas and Alexander McQueen, (but in all honesty, I would not even consider their most of their work "Pret-a-Porter"...it IS demi-couture), but Couture still felt innovative at times. To look back on Galliano's collections for Dior circa 2002-2003 is awe-inspiring...they're breathtaking mixes of brash conceptualism and unreal craftsmanship. Those shows were special...and they were different from Pret-a-Porter. I'm not sure I would be able to pinpoint any specific reason as to why, but they just felt different from the RTW.

But now, since Galliano has turned Dior into a tasteless bore-fest, Karl Lagerfeld has lost his mind, and Christian Lacroix is no more, I feel like all of Haute Couture has sunk into a phase of identity crisis. And now with designers like Phoebe Philo at Celine bringing back simplicity to the fashion world, a Couture spectacle no longer seems totally appropriate. Maybe it's a need for new blood? Sure we have Riccardo, and now Thimistier, but the calendar is still largely dominated by men over 50.

I just don't feel like couture will ever die. I just don't. I don't, however, believe it will ever return to it's glory days of the 40's and 50's, either. Too much has changed. But I think it will be a few years before Haute Couture picks up again, at least creatively.

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Last edited by dior_couture1245; 09-05-2010 at 01:37 PM.
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10-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agee View Post
...Yes you can say that Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior are directional, but so is 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...
i cannot agree more. it's such a business decision that's wrapped up in prestige, history, and marketing of a particular house. i just wonder why some of the not-so-new kids on the block don't go through the formal steps to become a part of it. especially houses like balenciaga and lanvin who have clientel who would appreciate that.

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10-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dior_couture1245 View Post
I think Haute Couture is just going through a period in which it is struggling to re-define itself. I don't think it is dying. Honestly, I'm a little tired of reading, even seeing (as I don't even bother reading them anymore), these articles about "Couture's Last Breath," etc. Nobody is saying anything new...I've essentially been reading this same article for years.

Looking back at Haute Couture from, say, the early 2000's to about 2006, I feel like it really had an identity. Sure Ready-to-Wear had Nicholas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga, Olivier Theyskens at Rochas and Alexander McQueen, (but in all honesty, I would not even consider their most of their work "Pret-a-Porter"...it IS demi-couture), but Couture still felt innovative at times. To look back on Galliano's collections for Dior circa 2002-2003 is awe-inspiring...they're breathtaking mixes of brash conceptualism and unreal craftsmanship. Those shows were special...and they were different from Pret-a-Porter. I'm not sure I would be able to pinpoint any specific reason as to why, but they just felt different from the RTW.

But now, since Galliano has turned Dior into a tasteless bore-fest, Karl Lagerfeld has lost his mind, and Christian Lacroix is no more, I feel like all of Haute Couture has sunk into a phase of identity crisis. And now with designers like Phoebe Philo at Celine bringing back simplicity to the fashion world, a Couture spectacle no longer seems totally appropriate. Maybe it's a need for new blood? Sure we have Riccardo, and now Thimistier, but the calendar is still largely dominated by men over 50.

I just don't feel like couture will ever die. I just don't. I don't, however, believe it will ever return to it's glory days of the 40's and 50's, either. Too much has changed. But I think it will be a few years before Haute Couture picks up again, at least creatively.
it's too true! seriously, couture hit its high point when galliano at dior sent that egyptian collection. it got the entire world interested in the couture again and it came at a time when the world's rich actually had the money to spend on it and these houses spared no expense.


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10-05-2010
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To me couture is heart-warming and relaxing. Knowing that still exists that kind of perfection is so reassuring (and more after seeing fifty shows with awful cuts, fittings and fabrics ) and that kind of perfection can only be achieved by couture. Common pręt-ŕ-porter is not in that way at all. A few years ago I read a sad interview about Jil Sander, and one of the things she told was that her bosses forced her to use bad quality fabrics... That doesn't happen in HC.

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10-05-2010
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Couture is no more relevant than the highest end ready-to-wear. Balenciaga, Lanvin, Old Helmut Lang, Phoebe Philo at Chloe and now Celine, these labels have directed fashion more than any Haute Couture collection has over the past 15 years. But mind you, Balenciaga DOES sell custom made-to-measure to private clients. A lot of houses do actually, they just don't do a whole show and dance about it. And do they really need to?

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10-05-2010
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"It's where we explore new fabrics and new looks,"

The point of couture is not just to sell stuff (although obviously that's part of the aim for the fashion houses) it's about fantasy, and art and creativity! How can that ever cease to be relevant?

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11-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neonpeg View Post
"It's where we explore new fabrics and new looks,"

The point of couture is not just to sell stuff (although obviously that's part of the aim for the fashion houses) it's about fantasy, and art and creativity! How can that ever cease to be relevant?
The problem is that so long as haute couture continues to function within the parameters of a market and profit, then it can never be relevant as "true art". It is a commercial art. In fact, like someone has said above, it is "design" rather than "art".

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18-06-2010
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As one of the only industries which still employs skilled seamstresses i think haute couture is still very relevant today as it was 60 years ago.
As a trade, it's grow with society and adjusted to our needs. Designers make a spectacle of the haute couture shows almost as if to flex their creative muscle which not only creates spectacle but intrigue and interest which leads to sales.
I think the argument over the transition of haute couture from a artistic practice to a mere design fetish is absolute nonsense, in my opinion fashion is art; what we wear can express as much emotion as a Caravaggio or Manet.

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06-07-2012
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I know I'm late to the thread, but in my opinion, haute couture is still extremely relevant because it influences lower fashion, not just pret a porter, but even perfumes and other accessories. Besides, haute couture was never intended for the masses. It always appealed to a very small, specific group of people, and fortunately, they don't make more haute couture pieces than the demand requires.

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