By Arriel Ginter
Couture is a term that has been thrown loosely around in the fashion industry almost since its creation. Short for Haute Couture, the French phrase describes clothing or pieces that are custom, detailed, and hand sewn for clientele. Little known, Haute Couture is actually a legal status held exclusively by the members of Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris.
Hand crafted designs take a lot of time and financing. The recession has resonated throughout all of the business worlds, especially in the fashion industry. Haute Couture is no exception. One of the most famous Fashion Houses, Christian Lacroix, took a serious hit in 2009; the designer himself had to finance his last line.
In January, the Spring 2010 Couture lines made their debut in Paris. Ten designers showed their collection, to say that I was not impressed is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I love fashion for what it is. I believe it is a personal statement and branch of creativity. But these collections, except for the special few, seemed to lack innovation and a je ne sais quoi. One show in particular, Valentino, left me extremely disappointed. The collection to me was not a proper interpretation of the brand or the reputation it had built in the world of style. The new creative directors may have been trying to entice a younger consumer group, but I felt cheated.
Past the negative thoughts, there were three shows in particular I loved. Chanel, Elie Saab, and Christian Dior lived up to my expectations of the artistry of Haute Couture.
Chanel. Amazing like always, Karl Lagerfeld produced a flawless production holding up to the standards Ms. Coco established. I loved the amazing variety from the signature short suit to the over top wedding gown. What always astounds me is the exquisite attention to detail. The embellishments may be hard to see from a distance, but are breath taking. Remembering that they are hand crafted makes them even more precious.
Elie Saab is famous for his ability to craft gowns that make beautiful women like Halle Berry absolutely glow. To be able to wear one of his gowns on the red carpet is an honor for any actress. This season though, he seemed to take a break from the high glamour Hollywood look and stepped into the feel of the season. I felt like Rachel Zoe, viewing the clothing and picturing which star would look fabulous in what for the upcoming award shows. A muted color pallet was my only complaint. I would have loved to see something more dramatic and less beige. All in all though, he stayed true to his talent and created gorgeous gowns with a natural feminine feel.
Christian Dior stole my Haute Couture heart this season. The show began with horses in the background streaming into Sade’s “Soldier of Love”, setting the perfect mood for the equestrian inspired clothing. The fabrics chosen with the styling exuded finesse. The jackets, full skirts, cocktail dresses, and ball gowns allured with their tailored, cinched, and superb construction. I fell in love with the ball gowns each more dramatic than the last. The models, mix of music and clothing provided the most stimulating show, each piece left me wanting more Dior!