Haute Couture is known for its extravagant, extravagant, and opulent fabrics, so when times are tough, what’s in the fair for haute couture? What are the pros and cons of going high fashion?
Couture focuses on creating unique, handcrafted and tailored clothing for a select clientele with great emphasis on attention to detail without compromising on sourcing high quality materials. The term was originally used in the 19th century and in France it is still a protected name that can only be used by the most upscale fashion houses. With the dawn of the 1950s and the Great Depression, haute couture fashions seen as impractical took a back seat to porter ready-to-wear designs. The spending boom of the 1990s has seen its return, but with the recent recession, the focus on traditional lines has caused this expensive line to suffer somewhat.
Couture houses that continue haute couture designs today must follow specific standards which include making designs to order for private clients, having an atelier in Paris and presenting a collection of no fewer than 35 unique creations twice a year. Official members include Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior, and Givenchy.
If you can afford to buy a gown, one of the distinct advantages of Haute Couture, is that you will own something that is unique and unlike anything else. Some pieces have been kept in families for generations and can be auctioned off for large sums of money.
Many of the haute couture outfits are beautiful and the performances are amazingly theatrical, but such outfits can’t be worn to a restaurant unless you’re really eccentric. It is said that you will own a garment that is custom made to fit your body and that you did not buy one off the clothes rack.
However, Jean Paul Gaultier is famous for blurring gender divisions by working to create pinstripe suits, lace neckties as neckties and stunning cufflinks reminiscent of the 18th century. These concepts that became popular in the 1980s filtered into mainstream groups.
Many fashion designers who work with ready-to-wear collections have a strong desire to work in haute couture as such collections are believed to encourage rather than restrict creativity.
During off-duty times, there’s a definite shift to more conservative wear that’s neither whimsical nor extravagant. Some of the clothes go up to $40,000. An embroidered dress could take up to 1,000 hours to complete. The luxurious fabrics they work with include cashmere, silk, leather and, more controversially, furs. Fashion experts have noted that the modern designs produced by the haute couture elite have been greatly toned down.
Wealthy people continue to buy haute couture pieces but the ones that don’t look like they just walked off the runway. Others will say that during times of difficulty it is important to continue to embrace lavish creativity and to wear such distinguished clothing. Many believe that the future of haute couture lies in the ability of fashion houses to balance collections with ready-to-wear.