Haute Couture: Relevant in Today’s World?
This past week in Paris, another Haute Couture season came to a close. And with it came the ever traditional questioning on the relevance of couture presentations as well as the perspective of the dying craft that has plague the presentations ever since names like Lacroix and Yves Saint Laurent to name a few decided or were forced to shut down their couture houses. Fall 2011 wasn’t any different so it seems, as for the past few years; the debate has been raging on.
Granted, there are less and less French houses actually showcasing at Paris Haute Couture Week. However, established and respected houses like Chanel, Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Armani Prive, Elie Saab, and Valentino as well as a younger crop of designers like Alexis Mabille, Anne Valerie Hash and Julien Fournie are keeping the spirit and tradition of couture alive, while making it their own and modernizing it. A slew of talented Lebanese couturiers like Georges Hobeika, Georges Chakra and Zuhair Murad are making their way up the lather as well as many Hollywood A-listers and starlets are wearing their creations, thus finally giving them a spotlight to shine.
As the couturiers are becoming younger and fresher, so are the clients. It is well-known that a slew of the wealthy middle-east princesses make up a very good part of the haute couture clientele as they come down for Paris couture week in order to place orders for weddings and so forth. However, a new generation of clients are coming from Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia, where the new wealth of the world is transpiring. There will always be just a small pond of Haute Couture clientele who can afford a 5 and 6 figure one of a kind dress. But as long as that pond keeps coming back for more by getting their money’s worth and couturiers continuing delivering astonishing workmanship, detailing, sublime craftsmanship and unparalleled creativity, thus keeping the spirit and fairy-tale feeling alive, Haute Couture will always have a place in fashion.
Is Haute Couture relevant in today’s world? Absolutely, now more than ever with the onslaught of fast fashion stores and the surplus of competition and diluted products out there. Haute couture allows complete control over creativity as designers do not need to cater to specific markets and true workmanship, talent and skills shines through. Who of you ladies never secretly wished to be a princess for one day?