As you know Haute Couture week only exists in Paris, France. France is the home of Haute Couture, the art of making custom made-to-fit fashion. Its origins can begin back to the famous Queen Marie Antoinette, who had her own dress maker to ensure her needs and tastes for fine fashion were met. From then, France’s haute couture scene flourished in all areas from fashion, architecture, food and design. Due to trade, the French industries became synonymous with the latest trends in style and excellent quality.
Haute Couture, was simply a way of making well-made clothes. It was the way clothes were made for all customers before industrialisation. Today, Haute Couture has become the artistic expression of the fashion world. Garments sent down the runway are not necessarily wearable, but rather a statement in artistic expression through skill, textile development, manipulation and innovation. Haute Couture are not garments to be bought and sold, they are an expression of the fashion house and brand. They garments we see, are as they are made. Should the client want the piece or like a certain aspect of the piece, they have to book an appointment with the designer and arrange for a fitting.
There are rules to becoming a Haute Couture brand, which ultimately defines it as luxury. These rules are:
- design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings;
- have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time;
- have at least twenty full-time technical people, in at least one workshop (atelier); and
- present a collection of at least fifty original designs to the public every fashion season (twice, in January and July of each year), of both day and evening garments.
Did you know France also holds the copyright and ownership of Haute Couture? They own the very term itself, and what defines it. Fashion brands from all over the world can become a Haute Couture brand as long as they meet the above criteria. Not all fashion houses choose to make their collections public. It can be that exclusive.
Today, Haute Couture remains exclusive for select clients. However, its main function today is to promote the essence and universe of the brand. It lets fashion brands show its skill and innovation in the apparel industry but also their artistic oeuvre using various fabrics and textiles through stories and fantasy.
Let’s check out my faves from Haute Couture Week for Autumn 2016:
Le Moyen Age du Europe
It was a fun filled fairy tale set in the European Medieval era for D&G, Fendi and Valentino.
- D&G continues to push its fairy tale drama in to it’s collections. The theme was based on Naples. Womens wear included the famous gathered skirts made famous in Italy in the 1400s with the signature slit to expose delicate lace works. The men’s collection was more contemporary with the modern tourist being the theme, from signature t-shirts to a diving suit suit!
- Fendi, tapped into the classic European medieval and fantasy art. Pieces looked like carefully woven tapestries with intricate details, floral designs and folk stories. Tapestries were heavy pieces of art and furniture made popular in the Middle Ages, but in this collection they were light and warm pieces to wear.
- Valentino’s take on medieval were focused on it’s sovereign trends of the age. Frilly necks, heavy classical embroidery and iconic spotted regal gowns made its’ way down the runway. These styles worn by the royalty and people of the Royal courts of the European Middle Ages for occasions and public appearances.
Sprites & Silks
- J. Mendel’s collection contained very delicate pieces involving silks, chiffons coupled with intricate embroidery.
- Jean Paul Guiltier took his woodland sprites to new levels, with his fabrics resembling the bark of trees to create chic gowns, while other pieces represented nature and enchanted forests in the Fall.
- Maison Margiela played on surrealism,and pieces were heavily laden with juxtaposing facets of fabric designs and new cuts.
- Giambatistsa Valli’s collection was beautiful, with elegant ball gowns that floated as they moved.
Here’s to the next season of fantasy and fun