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23-01-2008
  31
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...I wonder how fashion is supposed to stay in business without these "bimbos"

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23-01-2008
  32
Looking Up
 
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That's precisely how it says in business, these bimbos just go round spending their money on anything they want, couture happens to be one of them.

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23-01-2008
  33
the crying of humanity
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissMagAddict View Post
Washington D.C.
I always get confused when reporters don't add the "D.C." Thanks for clearing it up!

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23-01-2008
  34
The future is stupid
 
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source | polyglot | December 25, 2007

Quote:
Couture's New Clients Part I

After the czars, the maharajahs, the American Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and the sheikhs, where will couture find a new client source?

If the spring/summer 2007 season was anything to go by, there seems to be a new youthful clientele in the front rows, amongst them the Miller sisters, Alexandra Von Furstenberg and Marie-Chantal, wife of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, as well as the 20-something Angelique Hennessy of the cognac family, (Chanel’s youngest client is currently all of 24).

Soaring oil prices have also stroked Middle East interest, reviving a client base that had slumped in the early 1990s. The oil rally has seen some of those princesses return. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Khaled Hamad al-Thani from Qatar was a guest at the Dior show. “I am a client for my wife,” he said. Asked if more of his friends and colleagues would be buying haute couture after oil prices hit a record of $70 per barrel last year, he said, “I think so.”

By now it’s apparent that primary factor driving Couture sales is vast new wealth, especially in emerging markets like India and Eastern Europe, as well as Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates. The presence of a large Arab clientele was also echoed by Marco Gobbetti, the CEO of Givenchy. "Lately, the Middle East has been a significant market that has grown very quickly," he says. Even Giancarlo Giammetti of Valentino has noticed the upswing in couture clients. "There is such a new wealth in the world in countries you didn't expect to explode so much. These people are dressing almost all the time in Couture, so they're able to order huge amounts of clothes,” noted Giammetti.

But the most telling sign of a couture revival occurred back stage after the Dior show, where staff were overjoyed as yet another couture client - the 17-year-old daughter of a Russian millionaire - ordered seven bespoke Dior outfits. With an estimated 25 billionaires, along with a healthy number of 88,000 millionaires, the Russians have become couture’s newest customers, assuming the swagger and style of the oil sheikhs of the 1970’s in their spending habits.

Furthermore Armani Privé has taken to flying its seamstresses to clients for in-person fittings, where a five-dress-per-season order is considered the minimum to qualify for such elite customer service. While Valentino Couture boasts one client who orders a mindboggling 25 to 30 new dresses each season. “The demand for handmade, exclusive, personalized fashion designs for a small but important number of women is significant and growing,” notes Robert Triefus, Armani’s executive VP of PR.

But despite the growing number of clients at several of the couture houses, it is widely believed that the couture label with the most customers is neither Chanel, Valentino, or Dior for that matter, but the lesser-known Lebanese designer Elie Saab, whose front row is usually packed with glamorous Saudi princesses. “Haute Couture is the ultimate refinement," said Nayla Lati, a member of a prominent Beirut banking family who was seated front row at Saab's show.

Then there are the first lady’s, queens and royal consorts who rely upon the couture as a means of projecting a confident and sophisticated image in their increasingly public lives. Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missnad, wife of the Emir of Qatar, for instance, regularly calls upon the Houses of Dior, Scherrer, Gaultier, and Chanel to outfit her for foreign visits and the state functions she attends as part of her role as a roving ambassador for the Emirate. While the young Queen of Morocco, Lalla Salma, who is best know for the sumptuously embroidered caftans she dons for royal banquets, is often seen in immaculately tailored Valentino couture outfits for other official functions.

The couture houses that remain insist they are making money. Chanel, which has arguably of the largest haute couture businesses, has reported a 50 per cent increase in sales for the past two years. Its couture division has experienced such significant growth that it now employs 120 workers in three ateliers to keep up with orders. “The couture was profitable if you took out the cost of the presentation of the show”, said Francoise Montenay, the chief executive and president of Chanel, who added that, "What happens is that when they have tasted couture, they cannot live without it - if they still have the money."

In 2005, when Giorgio Armani entered the rarified world of Haute Couture, industry insiders questioned the decision. But according to Armani’s Triefus, the Privé line has experienced tremendous “interest and growth,” pointing out that their roster of European and British clients are now ordering an impressive average of three Armani Privé ensembles each season. At Christian Dior Couture, sales doubled with the previous January collection, while the House of Lacroix has experienced similar growth. "Last year was up about 25 to 30 percent and this year, so far, is running slightly higher,” agrees Nicolas Topiol, president of Christian Lacroix. "Couture is very vibrant."

“My feeling is that the pendulum is swinging back to Couture,” says Jean Paul Gaultier president, Christophe Caillaud. “Rich clients are willing to have exclusive and exceptional products: made-to-measure and personalized. They want to have goods adapted to their specific needs and this includes, or course, Couture.”

Yet despite a rising interest in the craft, the market for haute couture is becoming less French every day. For decades, couture clients used to buy their haute-couture suits and ball gowns directly at the fashion houses in Paris. But many of the couture houses have recognized that if wealthy clients from emerging markets such as India and the Far East can't or won't come to the shows, then the designers will take their collections on the road. The latest to do so were Chanel and Georgio Armani, who both reprised their Paris shows in Hong Kong and New Delhi in a bid to capture a new clientele.

During Dior’s 60th anniversary couture show held on the grounds of Versailles, one executive said that they expected to sell many of the 45 embroidered gowns coming down the runway at that night's show. The catch was that such transactions would not be taking place in Paris, but at a showroom on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Officials at Valentino have also confirmed that they regularly fly to Moscow and Dubai to meet clients, since only 10% of clients still buy the label's signature couture gowns through its Paris showroom.

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23-01-2008
  35
The future is stupid
 
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source | polyglot | December 25, 2007



Quote:
Couture's New Clients Part II

In recent years haute couture has witnessed a surge in clients, many of them young, in their 20’s and 30’s. For some it is their first experience wearing couture, while others have acquired a taste for it through their mother’s and friends who were already established customers. Most new customers will gain entrance into a couture house through an introduction by an already established client.

Top left clockwise: Sheetal Mafatlal represents a new Indian couture clientele and was instrumental in opening the first Valentino boutique in India; Valentino with the young couture client Eugenia Niarchos; In a rare moment, young Arab clients from the Gulf caught on film after the Gaultier Paris show, with Catherine Deneuve being interviewed in the foreground; New York client Helen Lee Schifter in Dior haute couture; Princess Lalla Soukaïna of Morocco represents a young Middle Eastern couture customer; Princess Rosario of Bulgaria is a regular customer at Valentino; Princess Charlotte, Princess Caroline of Monaco’s daughter, has acquired her mother’s taste for Chanel haute couture; Indian clients seated at a Dior couture show; Anh Duong and Rena Sindi were both married in couture wedding gowns by Christian Lacroix, Sindi’s mother is Nada Kirdar who is a prominent couture customer; Fabiola Beracasa is no stranger to the world haute couture with an illustrious pedigree to match. Her mother Veronica Heart was born in Monte Carlo to Princess Fatemah Khanoum and the Dutch aristocrat Wilhelmus de Gruyter and was first fitted for Balenciaga couture at the age of 16. As a child Fabiola attended many of her mother’s fittings at Valentino and Dior and reputedly has 14 closets of couture and countless more through her mother. Seen here wearing a Givenchy couture ball gown from Spring 2007; When the American heiress Marie-Chantal Miller married Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece in London in 1995, not only did she wear a couture gown by Valentino, made with ten types of lace, but dozens in the wedding party wore Valentino as well. Today she is still a loyal customer at the House, shown here wearing a Balmain couture gown from Fall 2001.

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23-01-2008
  36
The future is stupid
 
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Quote:
How Exclusive is this Club?

With the term Haute Couture being tossed around casually these days on fashion magazine headlines and onto the labels of expensive ready-to-wear, one would be forgiven for describing a pair of jeans as couture, even if you did pay $2000 for them. Haute couture, on the other hand, is made by hand, in Paris, to the exact measurements of those who can afford it.

To the untrained eye, there's little difference between a four-figure Pucci dress bought off the rack at Barney’s and a $150,000 Christian Dior ball gown. But for haute couture’s core clients there is a big difference. At society events such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute Gala, or at lavish weddings in Riyadh, you'll see wealthy women flaunting both styles. But, when a socialite wears couture it means she's really serious about fashion and has the lifestyle to support it.

Cason Thrash stresses that the couture social circle is not an easy one to access. When she began collecting six or seven years back, she was lucky enough to be guided by Suzanne Saperstein, the woman Vanity Fair once called "probably the world's No. 1 consumer of haute couture."

"Couture is almost like a private club," says Cason Thrash, who favors American designer Ralph Rucci, as well as Europeans Christian Lacroix, Christian Dior and Jean-Paul Gaultier. With Saperstein in her corner, she was introduced to the right people. "Even though they need the business, it’s not easy at first to get your invitations or to get to know the directresses of the houses. But once you navigate your way through that rocky beginning, every show is a lovely reunion with like-minded individuals."

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23-01-2008
  37
V.I.P.
 
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These women are not "bimbos". Not that I know any of them, but they're doing something fabulous by wearing these creations and I think it's fantastic. And to point out they only appear to be vain and self-centered on their looks, well...look at where they're photographed. Parties and the front row at shows, places where people (with billions of dollars) are expected to be photographed. I'd be in a Chanel suit and looking my best and most fit at all times too.
I love the clients from Saudi Arabia and the UAB and of course Princess Caroline and her daughter.
Like this thread. And I love Ahn Duong!


Last edited by LetThemEatCake; 23-01-2008 at 07:22 PM.
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23-01-2008
  38
Meg
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I've no doubt the club is exclusive but I think haute couture clients also promote its exclusivity and perhaps exaggerate to a certain degree to try and keep the club exclusive. To get in I think they need to know someone who is already a couture client in terms of getting in socially to the group. But if you wanted to get something made couture (and had the money for it) you could probably call up the house and see about arranging an appointment. If you countinued to be a customer, I've no doubt that you would eventually be invited to the show.


Last edited by Meg; 23-01-2008 at 07:24 PM.
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23-01-2008
  39
This is the Renaissance
 
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I had the impression from the above profile that Yuki Tan of Beijing may have her own money. She's listed as the president of Folie Follie, whatever that is.

To be honest, I would doubt that most self-made businesswomen have the time for Couture unless they are in the fashion industry or retired. They're too busy running companies to go to Paris and get fittings.

Personally, I'm happy that there are new Couture customers. I don't much care how they got their money as long as it keeps it going and I get to see the clothes. I'm just sad that as of this moment, unfortunately, I'm not one of them.

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23-01-2008
  40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LUXXX View Post
How do these women become clients...like what if a random, newly wealthy woman decided she wanted to go to the couture shows and buy...how would she do it?
there is a whole process...
in order to even have access to the opportunity to go to the shows, let alone buy them, you must be approved by the Federation Francaise de la Couture. Like Meg has said, in order to get in you need to be invited by an existing member or inherit membership from a deceased member.


Last edited by baddabling; 23-01-2008 at 07:31 PM.
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23-01-2008
  41
i'm almost ready..
 
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thanks very much for the articles mullet
. . it answered a lot of the questions i had !

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23-01-2008
  42
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Meg, you are quite right.

It takes a little finesse if it is your first time buying, but it is not hard to arrange for a fitting and for a purchase. However, a single dress from a single line will not get you into the house. To be a front row attendee, or to get an invite to the next season, you typically need to have purchased quite a few dresses, showcasing your buying potential, or have a very well known client as a friend who drops your name, but it is quite easy, if you've the money, to get your first piece.

(Well, as mentioned: as long as you have referral!)

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23-01-2008
  43
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Quote:
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.

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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23-01-2008
  44
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However, hasn't Julianne Moore talked about collecting couture? Does anyone know how she came upon membership?

I know it's typically done through a friend who is already a client, but can designers extend invitation to the federation? I've always been a little unclear about that. Not that I can afford couture, but it's an art I support whole-heartedly.

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23-01-2008
  45
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im sure this has been posted many, many times in the past but it gives alot of insight into what goes on behind the scenes:

"The Secret World of Haute Couture" BBC, 2007
(part 1 of 6)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih6SITik-40

source: youtube

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