Monday, January 18, 2010

Haute Couture is Upon Us

Photo by Partick Demarchelier

by David Pedroza

One of the most fascinating fashion events, is just around the corner. Haute Couture, an art that has been questioned in the past years, and more recently with the economic down turn and with the backrupcy of a reputable fashion house, will prove it self as a enduring craft. On January 24, 2010, Paris will host, for 5 days, from great fashion houses, both large and small, the Haute Couture collections for a modern era. In the last year haute couture shows have become accessible to millions of people on the Internet and has expanded its global client base to the Middle East, India, Russia and China. Although, with the bad economy,last January, the two grandest fashion houses in Paris, Chanel and Dior, were posting sales increases of 20 and 35 percent. The number of American clients has dwindled, but a large increase in Middle Easter and Asian clients has increased sales for some haute couture houses. Not only has haute couture attracted new clients (including younger age clients, some in their twenties), but also a group of new designers, such as Maison Rabih Kayrouz and Alexandre Matthieu. For the Spring 2010 collections, The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, made this spectacular a bigger event with the showing of fine jewelery collections, inviting jewelers Boucheron, Van Cleef and Arpels, Chaumet, Dior and Chanel Haute Joaillerie, on the official couture calendar. Couture week will also include the return of modern, minimalist, Joshepus Thimister, who in the past has created simple, yet artistic impressions of haute couture, using simple fabrics such as cotton canvas, which have been dip dyed to create an ombre effect, then distressed.

Chanel couture workshop, Fall 2007 (photo New York Times)

There will also be an empty void, without the presence of Christian Lacroix , staging one of his flamboyant and gorgeous collections of sugary, colorful gowns. Many houses have gone in the past years, Yves Saint Laurent in 2002, Emanuel Ungaro in 2004, and Ateiler Versace, who does make haute couture collections, but does not stage a show in Paris. The lost of some of couture's greatest may have been the reason for some speculation on the existence of haute couture, but there will always be a group of people who will support this craft and of those in the ateliers. Chanel has saved several small ateliers, such as Lasage (embroidery), Massaro (shoes), Maison Michel (milliner) and Lemarie (feathers) who are at the core of this art. With out these specialists, the extinction of haute couture is possible. The work that goes into these beautiful clothes, hours of hand work, and the perfect fit on a clients body, justifies a five to six figure price tag( the less priced items, from Dominique Sirop, Matte crepe day dress for $9,000). When one enters the rarefied world of Haute Couture, there is not turning back, it is a way of life and there is no other way to dress, than in Haute Couture for some clients. Haute Couture, may it be important or unimportant for some people, makes some dreams come true, especially in a tough world.

Note: Master the Art of Style will report on the up coming Haute Couture Fashion week from January 24-28, 2010.

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