Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Give me some Hot Couture!

Is Haute Couture dead? Each season, this eternal question looks actually less like a question and more like a fact. The truth is the French industry has a big problem here, and not just because couture is something that only 2000 persons in the whole planet can afford, but for the struggle of an obsolete way of working to adapt itself to the XXIst century. Don't misunderstand me: I adore haute couture, and I think the work of people like Lesage, Lemarié and all the other artisans that work for couture should remain a reference for the luxury market, (so thanks Kaiser Karl for financing the artisans) but I also think the balance between tradition and modernity is difficult to achieve. And so we find ourselves with two new trends when it comes to couture: there's the self-proclaimed "modern" or "avant-garde" couture, which is trying to be minimal and arty, although it's actually a bit like Nouvelle Cuisine, clichéd and out of fashion. On the other side, we find all these designs that seem to have been thought for "Barbie Princess of a Fairy Tale" (although they are really meant for opulent Dubai princesses and cheesy red carpet fairy tales- yes, I'm talking about Elie Saab and some such abominations). Meanwhile, some of the most elegant and most representative houses have been forced to stop producing couture (Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Christian Lacroix), and some other houses survive, still working in excellence and continuing the European tradition. And very few new designers have the talent to keep up with that (among them, I am proud to say, Italian genius Maurizio Galante, for whom I interned for almost a year and who taught me a lot about fashion. A post about him is on its way).
So...what to do? I guess the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture is managing the issue the best they can... Otherwise all we can do is hope for new geniuses to take over and for Karl to never die. Meanwhile, let's enjoy what is left of True Haute Couture.

Galliano put on a "très Dior" show. and "très très Galliano" as well. Always looking for inspiration in Monsieur and his New Look, and always looking for inspiration in the past (he is known as John Galliera here, in reference to the history of costume museum), he put together the perfect collection for 1890. Exquisite fabrics, exquisite draping and exquisite shapes. After some outfits that would have made perfect costumes for an Oscar Wilde play, some more contemporary but equally sublime numbers appeared. Take off the excessive and beautiful hair and hats, and you have some perfect pieces for Ascot (that is, if the ladies that go to Ascot were that elegant and daring).

I loved the way Karl forgot about excessive ball gowns full of fabric everywhere and went for simple shapes this season. No black, no navy. Only pastel for Chanel. And some of the most beautiful details and finishings I've ever seen. Uber-chic, original and contemporary...It seems Chanel has the recipe for the perfect balance between tradition and modernity. By the way I'll have this last long satin dress, thank you very much.

Its first three seasons made me lose faith in Armani Privé for ever and ever... or so I thought. This last show surprised me inmensely! All the hideous silvery-metallic bustier dresses were gone! So where the undernourished skeletor models Mr. Armani seemed to like so much. Lovely girls and minimal clothes for maximal elegance. Less is more and Giorgio Armani is back to his glory days. Bravo!

Riccardo Tisci hasn't had it easy... Being the creative head at Givenchy and having to undertake both prêt-à-porter and couture under Hubert de Givenchy's shadow must have been stressful. But he has proved to be more than capable of managing the brand. He is now one of the most sought-after designers and his prêt-à-porter often flirts with couture. He is now getting there in his haute couture work as well. His last show had that dark, chic, phantasmagoric quality we love about Tisci's interpretation of Givenchy. Simpler than some of his previous collections, it was really interesting though.
Have you had an eye on the shows? Which one was your favourite?


  1. i think tisci made the right decision in making this collection smaller and simpler. i mean, the last givenchy couture show was one of my favorite shows of all time, so it was nice to have a relaxed (while still beautiful) collection presented this time around. now we can just hope that next season will be larger and mind-blowingly-perfect again.

  2. im not really into this haute couture- to me its just too much.. its artsy but nah.. i do however like how they accessorize in shows like these. the hair and such- which is adaptable for just about anybody. i like that bit a lot.
    and about simpsons- yes ralph is my homeboy for sure. i adore him.

    have an great week darling
    xxx ediot

  3. Excellent summary of the times! I noticed they are making concessions for what constitutes haute couture with the more fringe houses. IWith some collections I can't see the difference between what they show and pret, and I tend not to be too interested in those. Judging by my last post I adored the Chanel show most! Galliano is always amazing but I didn't get the rush I usually do. Tisci is a dream.

    Ha, I don't like Elie Saab much, either!

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  5. Love this post! I always gravitate towards Karl Lagerfeld's work!

  6. this is a really fabulous post

    (drooling over Chanel!)

  7. I loved loved this post. I've been seing some of these pieces online and your article made think a lot about this issue.
    This pieces you presented are perfect, so well done, the fabrics are amazing, the shapes and textures... the quality is undeniable and i'm in love with that first image.
    I recently saw wonderful photos about this in the James Bort's blog ( and i got speachless ^^
    Thank you so much for sharing your opinion and these amazing haute couture pieces***

  8. To me this season was frankly quite a disaster.
    Last season I felt a magically thing had happened: I loved almost every major show (not huge huge crushes but a stunning general quality). The years before I used to love obsessively some collections (often Dior for the 5 decade years, Givenchy for the others).
    Today the general quality is away, the individual quality is away; the designs are plain and repetitive, boring déjà vus of uninteresting inspirations.
    It is very very sad.

    I liked Galante though !

  9. this is cool post! ughh how i love haute couture things! even though I can't wear it but its alreay bring pleasure just by looking at it :D

  10. and uhhh definitely follow your blog! :D

  11. i have to say givenchy!

    thanks for this amazing review ;)



Thanks for your lovely comments.