Thursday, October 20, 2011

Journey as a Dior Couture Client

Dior Haute Couture Garment label

by David Pedroza, Editor in Chief

When I first began Master the Art of Style, my initial intent was to write about my passion for Haute Couture, and to share with readers every aspect, from workmanship to design. I have spent many years studying the craft, its creators, and the process of creating something so beautiful and special. For years, the public has questioned the relevance and existence of Haute Couture, and although a revival or rebirth of this craft has come, many still believe Couture is on its last leg. But, as a true believer, that couture is still relevant and influential; I have decided to share my first experience as a “couture client” and to share with my readers an experience that is truly one of a kind.

As Editor in Chief of Master the Art of Style, I cannot proclaim I am an “Haute Couture Client”, but was given the privilege to forgo a process that only a privilege few experience. The team at Master the Art of Style has attended many couture shows in Paris, and through the reference of a friend of mine, who is a new comer to the couture circle, I was able to make an appointment at Dior haute Couture. I had miss the show in July, the first presentation by the House without Galliano. This collection, shown July 4, 2011, was designed with the creative direction of Bill Gaytten, who for the past twenty years worked closely with Galliano as collaborator and designer. The inspiration for Gayteen’s first collection was Frank Gehry and the Memphis movement of the 1980’s; a mixture of architectural form, eighties pop colors and electrifying prints, came down the runway to the beats of Grace Jones. For the press and the public, it was a dazzling, crazy, “disco” collection, but for the customer it was much more. Past the colors, sequins, and lame, where silhouettes that are well suited for the real world, and kept in line with the heritage of Christian Dior.

Runway Look, Model 1

The adaptation of the Runway look above

I was told by my appointed Dior venduse that I can see the “translations” or adaptations of this collection. I made an appointment for September, when the collection would travel to New York City, not uncommon these days, since many house send their collections to different cities around the world for clients that did not or could not attend the couture show. The collection was being presented at a prestigious, luxury hotel in New York (I can not disclose its location, in respect of the privacy of Dior’s couture clients), where clients can select designs or befitted for garments they ordered in July (my appointment was held up by a very discreet social doyenne who has been a long time Dior client). The venduse I spoke to was not on-hand to help me that day, but I had the privilege to have the help of Madame Catherine Riviere. Madame Riviere is the famed Directrice (manager) of the Dior Haute Couture Salon, she is the link between the client and the atelier, as well as the “eyes and mouth” of the designer. I was welcomed by Madame Riviere into the hotel room, a lovely hotel suite, packed with racks of Gaytten’s Fall couture collection for Dior. She guided me directly to the adaptations, which are the interpretations of the runway looks, which are more practical and wearable. Of course, I went for the tailored pieces, a Black Bar suit with Pleated organza details, a black and navy taffeta and organza topper coat, along with a black and plum jacket, paired with an organza ruffled skirt. Every piece is beautiful constructed to the standard of Haute Couture, and I was reinsured by Madame Riviere that it was true Haute Couture. The Directrice makes sure that each style I picked kept the integrity of the original design (she kept on referring to the original runway model) but with the adaptations I required for my personal life, or a clients personal request. We went through the virtues of each garment, its fit and a run through of the process I would for take if I ordered a piece. The House of Dior was kind enough to send me a hand sketch of my adaptations along with a price list of each design; Houses are very quiet about prices, and prices reflect the changes made to each design. Although haute couture prices have been ridiculed for being very high, I believe they are justified and fair. Once you experience haute couture, you can never go back to the same way of shopping and dressing. It is a whole other mind set and life style, with the reasoning that you are buying something that will fit perfectly, be made beautifully, and will last your life time, even longer. Haute Couture is a wonderful, rarified world full of beauty, and where dreams come true.

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