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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Haute Couture as an art form
"Haute Couture" or high fashion often called dead. Is that true?
The number of fashion houses, creating "haute couture" collections in
past few years starts disappearing. But this process had begun much earlier.
With changes in the society changing high fashion as well. Despite the problems
it has a chance to survive in21st
century, thanks to new younger customers from Russia and Asia
What exactly a "haute couture" or "high fashion" is?
Russian and Western media of "high fashion" or "haute
couture" often referred to anything: the fashion week pret-a-porter
(ready-made clothing), and a collection of self-proclaimed "fashion
designer." "Couture" for promotional purposes it is hand-finishing
even the most elementary one. However between ready-to-wear (prêt-à-porter =
ready-made clothes, fr.) (even"luxury" class) and high fashion is a big difference. Ready-to-wear
- it's massive clothing made according to standard patterns and usually in limited
quantities, put for sale in brand or multi-brand boutiques. While Couture
involves hand-sewing dress / outfit to individual measures for a specific home
fashions client's. In other words, high fashion - fashion is not for everyone,
but only for a very narrow circle of the elect people who are able to pay a
very high price for a one-of-a-kind dress made by their standards. Prices also
vary considerably: costume out of line "pret-a-porter de luxe" can
cost up to $ 5,000, and the dress of "haute couture" - up to $
100,000 - you can feel the difference. Rumors are that some of the exclusive
creations of houses "Christian Dior" and "Valentino" reach
a price of 200,000 dollars ...
Monopoly of label "High Fashion" has only France. Where there is a
syndicate of Paris Haute Couture (Chambre Cyndicale de la Couture Parisienne),
part of the Federation of Haute couture, ready-to-wear and fashion creators (La
Fédération française de la couture, du prêt -à-porter des couturiers et des
créateurs de mode). "Appeal" or belonging to the House of Haute couture
is protected by law in France. List of houses having this "appeal",
drawn up by a special commission of the Ministry of Industry of France. Only
the House of Haute Couture, meeting all the requirements and based in France,
can become members of the Syndicate of High Fashion. Foreign fashion designers,
even such as Valentino or recently entered into this narrow range Valentin
Yudashkin, can only be corresponding members of the Syndicate.
Paris Haute Couture Syndicate was established in 1868 by President Today
Syndicate of High Fashion and High Fashion Federation and pret-a-porter is
Didier Gryumbah. The French Federation of Haute couture and pret-a-porter was
created in 1973. Which is the supreme executive member of all those chambers.
Also included in the Federation of the Syndicate of men's fashion and combines
all brands, working in of men's fashion
field. The members of the Syndicate or the Chamber of Trade Union High Fashion
High Fashion Houses are usually companies engaged in tailoring of same class
made to order.
High Fashion History - Social History of France
High fashion in the way as we know it, was born at the end of the XIX-th
century. The first fashion designer in the modern sense was an Englishman Charles Frederick Worth who opened his
fashion house in Paris in 1858. He was the first fashion designer who began to
dictate tocustomers his vision of
fashion. He is the first who introduced fashion shows on live models. He aslo
abandoned common practice of sending to customers rag dolls dressed in the
proposed mini-dress. As a specialist in ball gowns, TX did not hesitate to
assign a very high price. Fashion designers of that time until the first world
war wore only an aristocracy. And if before aristocrats determined fashion, as
well as for “fashion designers”, then
after Worth stare doing at fashion designers.
Clothing has long been in France (and in Europe) as a
hallmark of class, rank and status in the social hierarchy. There were laws
that forbade for lower social strata wear the clothes of a particular tissue or
even a particular color. During the French Revolution was issued a decree that
allowed to all citizens to wear anything they want.
In the early twentieth century sewing craft became an independent profession. This
position was regulated by ministerial order which determined that fashion houses
should make custom made cloths to order and have twenty employees minimum in a
company. It has to be presented twice a
year, with at least 75 models on live mannequins ( spring-summer and autumn-winter
collections) . In 1900 in France was 20 fashion houses, in 1925 - 75, in 1937 -
already 29. From 1946 to 1967. number of fashion houses declined from 106 to
High fashion it's unique and one-of-a-kind things, and creation of it takes up
to 150 hours or more, depending on a design and customer feedback. The
uniqueness of things "haute couture" is also in use of very expensive
high-end artisans who knows how to work with lace, pleating, ornaments made of
feathers, buttons, flowers, jewelry, gloves and hats commissioned by fashion
houses. Some time ago French high fashion house Chanel and Christian Dior bought several of these studios in order
to keep their knowledge and experience required for high fashion and French
fashion in general. For example, one of them is famous embroidery studio
Chanel,Haute CoutureSpring-Summer 2008
Many fans consider haute couture fashion an ultimate expression, even an art.
And they're probably right. It’s enough to see like a dozen seamstresses hand
embroidered dress item or treated specially imported from South Africa feathers
for the next creation of "haute couture", to understand that high fashion
- it's not just a whim of the rich. This is truly high art of sewing.
Time-consuming, expensive and rare art for those who can afford it.
The Parisian house of high fashion have their ateliers where usually works 20
to 40 skilled seamstresses. In four home studio "Chanel", for example, employs more than 120 people. For Christian Lacroix employs 24 pairs of
"small arms" as it’s called in the fashionable jargon for Jean-Paul Gaultier - 40. Newcomers among
the houses of high fashion can afford to pay for work of only few people.
It seems that Couture is available today only for really rich people. Previously
it was mainly the "old money" from Europe and America from
aristocracy representatives. In the 1980s among the "haute couture"
customers began to appear "Middle Eastern princess”, which is wives and
daughters of the wealthy Saudi and Qatari oil sheiks. By the end of the
decadeformed customer base of Parisian
fashion houses. Against mass fashion High Fashion
Mass fashion VS High fashion
High fashion and designer fashion in suffers today in general from the ongoing
fashion and turn it into a serious business. Once High fashion was the only possible
view of fashion. But with advent of pret-a-porter or wearable clothing which is more affordable big audience it
takes to a position of "haute couture" shaken.
Thanks to a new technologies fresh and original ideas from catwalks almost
instantly being copied, processed, and replicated thousands of low-cost
networking trendy shops. "Fast fashion" from Zara, Mango, H & M
and Topshop has a direct influence on modern fashion industry, including high
fashion. The fact is that despite all exclusivity, which is so hungry for rich
client fashion houses, many admirers of haute couture today, do not hesitate to
combine precious things "haute couture" with a much more democratic
jeans, for example. What was unimaginable just 15-20 years ago. As Valentino says in the documentary BBC "The Secret World of Haute Couture», in the early 1980s, when the house "Valentino" began to create their own collections of high fashion the number of output patterns during the runway reached 190. In the 1990s, it has been much more modest figure of 40 outputs. And recently that number has been revised by the French Syndicate of High Fashion downward - up to 25 to allow the few remaining houses of high fashion and young fashion designers coop with the prohibitive cost of "haute couture" collection. Times have changed.
In the 1950s and 1960s which was the "golden age" of high fashion, the life style of many f their clients didn’t’ allow them to dress at the store “next door”. Immediately after the Second World War in Paris took place up to 100 High Fashion shows during one, and number of employees in this business exceeded 46,000 people. Today the total number of people employed in the "haute couture" does not exceed 4,500.
Givenchy,Haute CoutureSpring-Summer 2008
Number of clients who wears "haute couture" regularly rarely exceed a
few hundred people around the world, and with the advent of "fast
fashion" of democratization and clothing their ranks further thinned. New
rich of United States, who made their fortune, for example, in Silicon Valley,
are not interested in high fashion. This is "new money", and they do not have
same social "baggage" as old one. Social problems and more widening
gap between rich and poor in the United States.
May 2007, the British BBC documentary called "The Secret World of Haute Couture», where film creator had few months to seek consent of high fashion female fans to open their wardrobes for TV camera. Among few interviewed women were most of the representative of"old money" were fairly mature age. Only one client from s "new money" has agreed to talk about her expensive clothes "haute couture" in front of camera. She was a young and energetic wife of American oil tycoon, mainly engaged in collecting donations for various charities. A young woman honestly confessed that felt certain sense of guilt for spending money "just for clothes even beautiful one," But shejustified herself by wearing "haute couture" clothes for charity events
High fashion - from crisis to crisis
High fashion is not just going through hard times. In the 1970s, when Yves
Saint Laurent introduced the fashion pret-a-porter, many predicted the end of
high fashion. But High Fashion survived. In the early 1990s with fall of oil
prices has been sharply reduced number of Arab clients, which for most part are
targeted by "haute couture" homes. Then in 2002, "Yves Saint
Laurent" been bought by French billionaire Francois Pinault (owner of the
"Gucci"), fashion designer was forced to leave from theredue not being able to sell "haute
couture" collections and by increasing the debt of a house. The new
creative director of pret-a-porter line an american Tom Ford, being more as a talented
manager, immediately came into conflict with the "old" orders YSL. After
press conference where Yves Saint Laurent announced his retirement from high
fashion, his close friend and partner Pierre Berge said that “Couture” died.
It was a serious crisis. In the next two years from the haute couture creation
collections turned away several major Parisian houses. Among them are the
"pillars" of Paris Haute Couture as Torrente, Balmain, Féraud,
Carven, Jean-Louis Scherrer ... Givenchy and Ungaro temporary stopped Haute
Couture shows. High fashion had to be rescued. Last one to get in to French
Syndicate of High Fashion was Jean-Paul Gaultier in 1997. In 2002 got in young
French designer Dominique Siro in 2005 - Adeline Andre and Franck Sorbier.
Corresponding Members of syndicate were Valentino, Armani, Elie Saab, Martin
Margiela. Have been simplified giant criteria for. The number od designs for a
show has been reduced from 50 to 25, and reduced requirements for the number of
However, since 2005 "haute couture" is on a rise along with industry
of luxury. Although it’s a Couture shows who has the best performance in excess
of sales growth in some luxury companies such as "Louis Vuitton".
Only few years ago house "Givenchy" was barely alive renewed
"haute couture" shows and announced that number of orders in 2007
increased by 30%. Similar order increase has experienced "Christian
Lacroix" and "Jean-Paul Gaultier," and "Christian
Dior" consistently sells up to 45 couture dresses right after show.
High fashion is dead. Long live the High fashion!
High fashion received a new breath thanks to rich people from East and Russia.
General Director of "Chanel" Bruno Pavlovsky says that Parisian house
"haute couture" customers now are not only Americans and Middle
Eastern but also Europeans, Russians, Indians and Chinese. New Russian "Dior
“ client, 17-year-old daughter of Russian millionaire, after one show ordered for
herself 7 dresses! Rich “new Russians” have become money spenders at Parisian show
cases along with Arab oil sheiks. You can find at fashion portal -wwd.com- new clients names such as Irina
Abramovich, Yelena Lihach and Alexandra Melnichenko.
For a while creations of Italian designer Valentino been great successes among
“haute couture” costumers - luxurious evening gowns and dresses from exclusive
fabrics and expensive lace. In January 2008 he presented his last collection of
haute couture in Paris. Will new "Valentino" house leadership
continue creation of such collections, and how successful they will be only
time can show.
Meanwhile, high fashion outfits doesn’t bring enough profit in order for
investors to cover expenses, which can be 2-3 million euros. Why to spend this
much? Spectacular and often theatrical shows "haute couture" attracted
a large media attention, and creates necessary image for a brand by associating
it with luxury, glitz, glamor ... Fashion Haute Couture pulling ready-to-wear
sales and fashion accessories - handbags, jewelry, cosmetics and fragrances
with certain labels. Those accessories and cosmetics / perfumes brings to many
Parisian houses more than 70% of all profits in order to justify an exorbitant
cost of high fashion and shockingly expensive shows. One of the most successful
in this (marketing) plan is a house of "Christian Dior." Christian
Dior label famous world accessories are sold at an incredible rate due to
their status as fashion must-have.
In 2005 Giorgio Armani surprised many fashion industry analysts by launching
his line - Armani Privé. This idea seemed to be doomed from the start. But what
"Ungaro" stops doing Haute Couture shows, then can step in Armani,
who never done “haute couture” and made his carier on classic suits. However, 70-year-old designer said that dresses with $
10,000 price tag is in demand, and he was right.
The first Armani Privé collection was completely wearable, and seemed set up
for high level social events. Despite of apparent "earthiness" of Armani
Privé every thing in it is sewn by hand, which takes two months, and pricewas over 10,000 euro!!! Betting on
super-luxury was correct one. Each season European customers oder an average of
3 ensemble from Armani Privé. In addition, Armani sends his main seamstresses
straight to his prime clients who orders few dresses per season.
"Chanel" does same thing - paying their main seamstress for private
jet flights around the world! After all many of the major "haute
couture" clients not even present at catwalks. Instead they get DVD of a show or password to view new collection online. specially for "haute couture" customers. Fashion house having closed shows in showrooms let say in New York. "Versace" shows his haute couture dresses in hid Paris show-room. Besides fashion houses started to hold screenings of their couture collections in New Delhi or Hong Kong. Since their new potential customers can not or do not want to come to Paris then they have to bring collections there. "Valentino" fashion house sad that they fly to Moscow and Dubai for clients meetings since is only 10% shops at Paris show-room.
Armani Privé, Spring 2008 Couture
Parisian fashion houses "fashion high fashion"
again taking over the world. Wealthy clients want to have an exclusive and rare
items, sewn on their individual standards and custom. High fashion gives them