Friday, July 16, 2010

couture couture

Models swirling around a lion's den at the Grand Palais in Paris for Chanel's haute couture show.

 Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The fall haute couture shows have recently wrapped in Paris, with lions at Chanel, in honour of Leo Mlle. herself. Tigers (or their tamers/ Dita von Teese) clad in latex at the close of Jean Paul Gaultier. Bears, or -inspired coats, jackets and womanly layers at Armani Privé. Designers and couture houses this season have turned back to the traditions of the (g)olden days, favouring private showcases and intimate exhibitions over full-blown catwalk shows (à la Chanel). Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy was the main proponent, bringing couture back to its roots by opting for an intimate exhibition as a way for clients and editors to interact with the couture. Such a setting affords each delicately constructed, ornately encrusted garment the kind of attention that simply isn't possible in a catwalk show.

 For most of us, couture week is simply another chance to indulge our eyes upon fashion (or in my case- just another excuse to write about it); but as extravagant and frivolous it may be, the fact remains that couture is a dwindling, ahem, trend. Gone are the days of ateliers and fittings, meetings and measurements. Globalisation and consumerism have lead to the proliferation of ready to wear and the steady decline of the couture customer. The sheer media coverage of these lavish lion-laden spectacles (thanks, bloggers) boosts sales from prêt-à-porter and diffusion lines which in turn supports the haute couture divisions of the houses. Last year's liquidation of the fabulously extravagant Lacroix exists to remind us all just how delicate, quite literally, is the balance in which couture hangs. So if the Riccardo Tiscis of the world may leave one mark upon couture it should be the re-emergence of the intimate showcase; the pure attention to detail and the utmost interaction with the client - which - after all, is what couture is all about.   

If nothing else, couture provides us with an inside peak at the upper echelons of exclusivity and beauty; and judging by the ten creations Tisci sent out, who can complain with that?

pictures:, Zimbio

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