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23-05-2008
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A lot of the new young couture clients really spend and buy in bulk from what I've been reading, it's shocking considering the economic times but fashoin does not seem to be suffering too badly.

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25-05-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fontenrose View Post
Quote:
Clearly, Chanel is selling--recession be damned!
Evidence? The several dozen Miami locals who hit the after party toting the latest, greatest arm-candy--which can run up to $4,000 per fix. A dozen clients even sported head-to-toe runway looks from spring. "I've seen my mom buy this stuff since I was 10 years old," said Anna Kournikova, who confessed to owning over 20 Chanel handbags herself.
Sounds like good marketing
that's strange. i could have sworn i've heard the story of Kournikova's parents selling their only tv to buy her a racquet, more than a few times...

It must feel fabulous to be dressed in Couture.
I remember being at Aquascutum in London and i was getting something. The price of the dress i was getting scanned at a much higher price than the tag read and the lady said to me, "oh it's a mistake. You should still get it though, it's a couture piece."

If i was a couture girl, i'd be a christian lacroix couture girl for sure i can keep dreaming...

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25-05-2008
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^i'd be a lacroix girl too!!!!!

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03-06-2008
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I started buying Yves Saint Laurent couture before I could afford it and stopped buying it and all couture by the time I could. I was never interested in expensive clothes, but I was in the process of creating a wide-span image for the agency of Success and the City – it was important because we wanted to ride the increasing applause we were getting for breakthrough ideas and steady creative shocks and aftershocks.

We reached high and dared big to break through every expected presentation of a client and what he or she had to offer. And we often asked clients to change what they made and sold in what it could achieve or just in how it was packaged. To gain the confidence of others, I made the agency a class act in how it was furnished and what food and wine a client could expect there and in the overall look of the employees. Some were wildly groovy and others looked rich — but everyone looked sure of their costume.

I met Yves in one of his little fitting rooms. He had one of the world’s best tailors and a fabulous seamstress who made the clothes on your skin. Yves would tiptoe in like someone’s uninvited child and he would smile nervously at me because I wasn’t a buddy. Only once he changed into somebody else for a minute and narrowed his lids and slyly suggested I lose five to seven pounds so that I could buy his runway samples; size four to six then when models were fat — size zero to two now. Those runway samples were sold at the end of each season for birdseed and that is how a lot of women who weren’t rich looked rich.

I rarely needed a ball gown but once, when I did, Yves suggested one and let me steal it. I never saw him again to thank him. So I am thanking him now. I loved that gown and I wore it to everything around the world until Estée Lauder started inviting me to dinner saying, “I know you don’t have good jewelry, Mary, so wear a good dress. Wear that dress of Yves’s. Is it still in one piece?” Yves, wherever you are up there, thank you. And Estée, I loved you.
by Mary Wells, who founded the ad and marketing agency, Wells Rich Greene in Wowowow

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30-06-2008
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aaaawww... Yves sounds like such a nice person.

and i can't believe the runway samples are really cheap.

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08-07-2008
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Rich seams: Haute couture is riding high again

Critics have predicted its death for years - but haute couture is riding high again
Carola Long reports from Paris
Monday, 7 July 2008


'Of course it's not reasonable to make shoes that cost upwards of several thousand euros," says former Chanel muse Inès de la Fressange. "But then, almost everything beautiful and interesting in the world, from cathedrals to wine to clothes or even shoes, is not exactly reasonable."
The languidly chic brand ambassador for Roger Vivier is talking about the label's latest couture collection of shoes that look as much like birds of paradise, with their curled feathers and tropical embellishment, as footwear. While playing gently with a rope of heavy pearls, and reclining on a vintage sofa that she sourced for the salon, she adds that she used to justify the existence of such extravagant fashion by citing the fact that it contributed to the economy and employment. "I don't do that any more," she says. "I think, 'thank God couture still exists'. We need something extraordinary in life."
The autumn/winter haute couture collections last week were suitably extraordinary. There was matador-inspired embroidery, rich Provençal colour and billowing leg-of-mutton sleeves at Christian Lacroix, structured metallic taffeta cocktail dresses inspired by organ pipes at Chanel, and John Galliano showed a sexy take on iconic Christian Dior shapes, with sheer

fabrics and wasp waists. A less flamboyant aesthetic prevailed at Armani, where the designer described his collection of softly tailed trousers and jackets in evening fabrics as a return to "the quintessence of Armani". Some of the most unusual designs were shown outside the official schedule, however, such as the Martin Margiela jacket made of party balloons (the ephemeral nature of which offers a counterpoint to couture's potential heirloom status) and a dress made of records broken to look like fish scales. These formed part of the Belgian label's Artisanal collection, which elevates everyday objects to the status of fashion and art. About five versions are made of each piece, but no two are the same.It's not just the outfits that are out of this world, so are the prices. Inquiries about estimated costs tend to be met with the kind of pained expression that you might receive on asking a mature (and un-Botoxed) couture client her age, and a vague response about how it depends on the amount of work that goes into it. The latter is a critical factor, however; the more beading and embellishment involved the more steeply the price rises. Starting prices can be at five figures – an evening dress might cost something in the region of £50,000 – and the sky is the limit.
The only numbers on a par with the prices are the volumes of detail that go into these made-to-measure garments. The final dress in the Christian Dior show, a ball gown dramatic enough for Scarlett O'Hara, was made from 100 metres of tulle and crin (horsehair), and took 400 hours of work in the flou ateliers (where they made the sheer parts of the dress), with an additional 800 hours in the specialist flou for the embroidered and sequined shell design, which harked back to one of Dior's favourite scallop motifs.
At Chanel, a long dress in grey silk faille with a train and tone-on-tone application of camellias took 280 hours of work, combined with another 180 hours for the camellias. The creative process happens in the couture ateliers that the company has bought, but who still supply other major houses. These include Desrues, who mould, sculpt, dye, gild and chisel the house's buttons and jewellery; Lesage, the embroiderers par excellence; and feather workshop Lemarie. Couture might be unreasonably indulgent, a mutual sartorial fantasy between client and designer, but it does help to preserve the skills and jobs of the petites mains who work in the ateliers. With its multiple fittings and close relationship between consumer and creator, it is the opposite of the disposability and dubious provenance of fast fashion.
The attention to detail that makes these clothes so seductive also creates couture week's rarefied atmosphere of air-kissing, macaroon-nibbling, champagne-sipping glamour. Rococo gilt chairs and perfumed air? A black Balenciaga cocktail dress and five-inch Louboutin's at 10am? Mai oui. And this being Paris, it's not just the fashion crowd that set the bar higher than the Eiffel Tower when it comes to the pursuit of chic. After offering the unsolicited suggestion that I should go back to my hotel to smarten up before I headed out to a party (I was already wearing a tiered, navy silk dress), my cab driver pointed to a well-dressed woman clearly on her way to a show, rolled his eyes in true "O mon Dieu" Gallic shock and said: "€1,000 shoes and she has ruined her look by leaving the price sticker on the sole. It's the little details that matter."
Incredible refinement and polish aren't always enough to satisfy the super-rich shopper, however, and couture appeals to the desire for something individual. Fashion consultant Susan Tabak says: "The point of couture is to be unique, its not a questions of trends." Tabak is also of the opinion that couture is having something of a renaissance. "I've been hearing 'it's dying' for five years," she says, "but now there are all these incredibly wealthy women from emerging markets such as Russia and China, who are becoming more aware of high fashion, and I'm getting more inquiries about it."
Her views are echoed by fashion-house bosses, who say sales are up, and their feeling is that the super rich aren't affected by the economic climate. Couture sales at Chanel rose more than 20 per cent last year, and the president of their fashion division, Bruno Pavlovsky, told Women's Wear Daily that he sensed a return to sizeable orders – "the last one was eight dresses in one shot" – while Sidney Toledano, president of Christian Dior, cited an increase in couture sales of over 35 per cent last year.
Outside the Givenchy show, Harrods' supremely polished fashion and beauty director, Marigay McKee, agreed that the very wealthy are upping the ante. "There's a big return to point of difference and an element of exclusivity," she said. "Now that new global markets are opening up, people around the world have money to invest in hand-crafted, hand-finished, seriously high-end pieces. In August, we have vintage couture dresses by Lesage arriving costing from £160,000 to £250,000, and a bag from Chanel with the double C in pave crystal – it's the only one in the world – which will be £125,000."
So once the super rich, blissfully unaffected by the credit crunch, are all dressed up in their couture finery, where do they go? Art galas, charity benefits, parties and weddings are some of the occasions that demand couture dresses, but American couture client Patricia Rossignol, who is a particular fan of Lacroix and Chanel, says: "I buy a piece if I love it, and then I make the occasion if I buy the piece." De la Fressange has noticed that the customers are "becoming younger, less conventional and more glamorous", and they increasingly mix made-to-measure jackets with jeans for a more modern look. However, surely the ultimate self indulgence is not to save one's couture for a particular event, but to have such a grand approach to life as to wear it every day. Enter the client who now sports her couture wedding dress by Valentino on the beach.

--The Independent

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08-07-2008
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just reflecting what we've been seeing for some time already! this is so good news!! this means a lot of hope, and lots of work/employment, and lots of fun for lots of people like us!

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08-07-2008
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Thanks for the articles and all the info about HC- i find this subject fascinating!
I am dying to leave work today and watch the Secret World of HC on youtube, it's a subject I don't know too much about. But from the thread here, it is a lot more exclusive than I thought. But amazing- how I would love to own a custom made piece just for me. *sigh*

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08-07-2008
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the fantastic heaven of the rich!

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08-07-2008
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^the rich and the women.... unfortunately for us men, we'd have to settle for Saville Row...

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08-07-2008
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interesting.

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31-08-2008
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Lots more interesting articles on couture customers at the-polyglot

the-polyglot on diadawan.com

Quote:
Who Buys Haute Couture in the Middle East?


The Polyglot June 30th 2008
Behind the Scenes at the Paris Haute Couture:
A glimpse into the private world of couture’s Middle Eastern clients

Although the fashion press regularly report on couture’s American clientele and the stars who attend the shows, it is rare that one reads of its regular customers from the Middle East, who constitute a large portion of its buyers.

Top left clockwise: Paris Couture’s Arab clientele includes Morocco’s young Queen Lalla Salma in a Valentino couture coat; Queen Rania of Jordan; the Lebanese heiress Mouna Ayoub, who is considered one of Couture’s big spenders; Suzy Menkes front row at a Lacroix Couture show in the early 90’s, while Arab clients are discreetly seated behind her; Long time couture customer Princess Firyal of Jordan; Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missnad of Qatar in Scherrer Couture; Two seats at the Gaultier Paris show read Sheikh Ahmed Al Thani and Princess Haifa Al Faysal of Saudi Arabia; A ball gown from Christian Dior’s Spring 2007 Couture Collection. Requiring yards of expensive fabrics, such pieces traditionally attract the big Middle Eastern clients; Nada Kirdar, is a prominent couture customer and the wife of Investcorp founder Nemir Kirdar, pictured here with Georgette Mosbacher.

In the late 80’s Suzy Menkes, senior fashion editor at the International Herald Tribune, described a row of Saudi Princesses seated at a Saint Laurent couture show; “veiling their faces behind their programs, as liquid black eyes” followed each model down the runway.

Such a scene would be a rare occurrence today, not because of a lack of Arab couture clients, but rather because the couture scene, at least from the client’s perspective, has gone underground.

Anyone who follows the biannual round of haute couture shows will be familiar with its most visible clients, the English heiress Daphne Guinness, the New York socialite Anne Bass as well as Becca Cason Tharsh, the Houston hostess and fundraiser whose husband is the multimillionaire CEO of a Texas energy company. The reason one knows of them, in a tightly knit group famous for its discretion, is that they are one the very few clients to have allowed the media to photograph them as well as to speak openly about their love of couture.

In March of 2007, Margy Kinmoth produced a documentary for the BBC called the “The Secret World of Haute Couture,” in which she tried to infiltrate this exclusive circle of clients in order to decipher what makes haute couture so special. After months of negotiating and countless phone calls she was able to get some of these woman to speak to her and in some instances open up their exclusive closets. Not surprisingly some of the clients who agreed to be interviewed are mentioned above, while many remained tightlipped, including several designers who refused to talk about their clients, sighting an unspoken rule of confidentiality.

Despite this Ms. Kinmoth’s documentary provides us with a rare glimpse into a world that is seldom seen by the general public. Amongst its many gems is an interview with one of couture’s oldest clients, Carol Petrie, a New York multi-millionairess whose wedding dress was designed by Christian Dior himself in the late 1940’s shortly after launching his “New Look.” Also not surprisingly, apart from one Britain, all of the clients featured in the documentary are American. It’s an interesting point alluded to by Becca Cason Tharsh herself, who upon hearing that couture’s clients presently number around 200, remarked "Two hundred? I see the same 20 women at the shows." Although many of those “same 20” clients are most likely made up of Ms. Tharsh’s compatriots, such as Anne Bass, Lynn Wyatt, and Susan Gutfreund, there are countless other rich unknowns from South America, Asia and of course the Middle East.

You may or may not know that Queen Rania of Jordan regularly commissions pieces at Givenchy and Gaultier Paris, or that Nazek Hariri, wife of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, is a loyal customer at Lacroix and Valentino. Apart from the occasional mention of Lebanese socialite Mouna Ayoub, who is considered one of couture’s big spenders, the majority of Arab clients shy away from such media attention.

The couture houses are known for keeping their clients lists closely guarded, and most of the women who frequent these houses will tell you they prefer it that way. For in the age of the Internet and globalism, where there’s a universal longing for whatever is newer, younger and hipper, haute couture has quite possibly become fashion's last luxurious frontier. It is also its most exclusive club, which separates the small-time fashion players from those who can afford to enter the rarefied atmosphere of Paris’ haute couture salons. As Karl Lagerfeld has said, ‘‘they don't want to be known, but they have money beyond.''


Last edited by Fontenrose; 31-08-2008 at 05:16 PM.
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31-08-2008
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more from the-polyglot.blogspot.com

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New Money vs. Old Money…& Then Came the Lean Times


On July 1970, at the age of 66, Diana Vreeland flew to Paris for the couture collections. It would be her last time attending the shows as Vogue’s Editor in Chief. Although she had attended the collections for over five decades she was still enthralled by the overall spectacle of the shows and the excitement of being in Paris. In her memoirs she captures the atmosphere of those final shows which she described as “an international and cosmopolitan bazaar”. “To go into a great French fashion house with its high ceilinged room, filled with massed flowers and ferns is always an event of refreshment and excitement….There are dashing personalities of every nationality, rich merchant’s wives from Beirut and Kuwait, jewelers and diamond merchants, and the great fabric makers of Switzerland and Italy, France and England.”

As Vreeland alluded to in her memoirs, by the late 1960's and early 70’s the couture houses were receiving a welcome infusion of new customers from the Middle East and - more important - new money. Though the couture houses during this period kept such matters as shopping lists and expenses to themselves, numerous stories of lavish spending began to circulate in the press: A Saudi oil sheikh buying the same dress for his eight wives; Kuwaiti princesses ordering ball gowns by the truckload.

But by the end of the Eighties the Middle Eastern clients had become part of the couture establishment, subsequently passing their taste for haute couture along to their daughters and granddaughters.

But this sizable Middle Eastern clientele also sheds light on how venerable the industry is to any political and economic upheavals which may affect the region. This was no more apparent than at the start of 1990s, when war broke out in the Gulf after 15 years of civil war in Lebanon. The Gulf War was a catastrophe for the top end of the industry, hitting it almost as hard as the 1929 depression. According to Francois Lesage, the 77-year-old head of Paris' top embroidery house, "Haute couture was asleep. It was totally oriented around the Arab princesses. The more petrol prices went up, the more the princesses bought dresses," Lesage said at the time. "But there are fewer princesses now because of the climate with the Iraq war, the war in Lebanon and problems with Israel. It's not how it used to be." The princesses were by far the biggest buyers of haute couture during this period and there were hundreds of them.

American clients may be prominent in the front row, Deeda Blair and the Texan socialite Lynn Wyatt amongst them, but they are seldom the high rollers. Ivana Trump was feted at the couture shows last July, yet no Paris fashion house claims that she bought a single outfit. But looking carefully at Dior's client lists may tell a different story. Saudi Arabia alone provides 32 percent of Dior's clients; 18 percent come from the United States, and only 10 percent or fewer from other countries.

Yet despite the existence of a sizable Middle Eastern clientele, looking around the audience attending the Dior shows today, one would be hard pressed to find a single Arab client amongst the crowds of celebrities and journalists who generate an incredible amount of publicity for the couture houses. Out of necessity, couture has had to find other ways to sustain itself when very few can afford its otherworldly clothes. The clients who pay retail (from Kuwaiti brides-to-be to fashion-conscious socialites) don't give the brands much exposure. Furthermore these creations are meant to be seen in order to spread the houses image, which is why stars are frequently invited to the Paris shows, where they are loaned dresses.

As a result of heightened publicity at the shows, many of the regular customers from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region have opted out of attending the presentations altogether, even though the couture houses send them invitations each season. Instead clients are sent dvds of the shows or allowed access to special websites, where they can view the collections in the privacy of their own homes.

Goegrio Armani, who shows his Armani Privé couture line in Paris, has expressed displeasure with the current big show format since most of his clients do not wish to be photographed or have their dresses displayed on the front pages of newspapers the next day. For this reason he stages two shows, one for journalists and another exclusively for 200 of his clients. It is a trend seen at most of the couture houses, where Middle Eastern clients now view the collections at private showings from the intimacy of the couture salon. For customers it is the only way they can appreciate the craftsmanship that has gone into the making of each garment. Up until 2006, when Stéphane Roland designed for Jean Louis Scherrer, the house (which was one of the few profit making couture establishments), had also pulled out from staging big shows in favor of more intimate presentations for its large number of Arab customers.

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31-08-2008
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the-polyglot.blogspot.com

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The couture industry maybe based in Paris, but it also boasts a number of prominent French and international clients who call the city home.

Clockwise: French model Naomie Lenoir photographed backstage at the Gaultier Paris Fall/Winter 2007-2008 show. Lillian Bettencourt, arguably the richest woman in France, she is the only child of Eugène Schueller the founder of L’Oréal, and inherited his entire fortune upon his death; Kirat Young, the former model and Paris based accessories designer with Brazilian couture client Bethy Lagardere at Valentino’s 45th anniversary celebrations in Rome; Paloma Picasso pictured in Yves Saint Laurent haute couture; seated at the Paris Opera from left is Bethy Lagardere, Ms. Monique Lang, Ms. Antonio Mayrink-Veiga & Nan Legeai; Comtesse Jacqueline de Ribes & Nan Legeai; Couture connoisseur Bethy Lagardere with her husband French businessman Jean-Luc Lagardere; Paloma Picasso pictured at fittings chez Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix. During the 80’s and 90’s Picasso was a prominent couture customer at Saint Laurent (with whom she maintained a close friendship), Lacroix and Dior.

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31-08-2008
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http://the-polyglot.blogspot.com/200...s-part-ii.html

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