Paris Without Couture – Non Merci
Anyone who has seen the documentary Dior and I will know how much hard work is put into designing and making these collections, not only by the designers but also by the dressmakers of the ateliers. These magnificent clothes are not just fashion, they are pieces of art.
Back in 2004, when a number of fashion houses were dropping out of the couture shows, Pierre Berge told Women’s Wear Daily: “That couture has lost its raison d’etre. Couture isn’t art. It’s not meant to be hung in a closet like a painting. The women who wore couture no longer exist, the art de vivre that spawned couture has died. If houses such as Chanel and Dior one day get proof that they can sell as many bags and fragrances without a couture show, they’ll stop couture, too.”
But earlier this year Riccardo Tisci, creative director of Givenchy, revealed he would be designing couture for the Paris-based design house again after an absence on the couture runway since the Spring/Summer 2013 shows, indicating that couture is on the rise again.
Couture may have had its ups and downs. The consumer-directed approach of ready-to-wear collections have gained popularity over couture’s exclusive custom-fitted clothing. But do we really want to see the disappearance of designers’ imaginative and artistic expression through the mediums of fashion and clothing?
With each piece constructed by hand from start to finish, using high quality and luxury textiles to create amazing works of art to be marvelled at, couture is a very personal craft: each piece being made specifically for the buyer. Many women may not have the time these days for three fittings for just a single piece of clothing, but this exclusive branch of the fashion industry is not designed for everyone and everyday use; today couture is mainly seen on the runway and at events such as The Met Gala and The Oscars.
Can we really imagine Paris without the Haute Couture shows? The deep commitment to the couture business by brands like Chanel and Christian Dior; the sheer exclusivity of the audience and the air of suspense that surrounds the shows, all indicate that couture will not be going away anytime soon.
Words by Amy Newson
SS15 Couture Collage by Katie Farley