Haute couture dating
Tracing its lineage—Worth, Poiret, Chanel, Dior, and onward—the author describes the current incarnation: spectacular shows accessible to millions on the Internet and a new global client base in the Middle East, India, and China.
Wenda Parkinson in Christian Dior’s 1949 hussar-style velvet-and-wool tailleur and black-fox muff, in Paris; at the Dior atelier on Paris’s Rue François 1er, model Caroline Trentini poses in the “Gisele Inspired by Irving Penn” look from the fall/winter couture collection of 2007–8 by John Galliano.
By Norman Parkinson/Condé Nast Archives; photograph by Patrick Demarchelier.
declared in 1965, as the youthquake shook the planet, “the doctors assemble at the bedside of French haute couture and announce that death is imminent.” There was reason to call the undertaker; sex kitten Brigitte Bardot had rebuffed the venerable Coco Chanel’s proposal to transform her into an “elegant woman” (“Haute couture is for grannies,” the starlet said), and space-ager André Courrèges had just hung up his couturier’s scissors to mass-produce his “moon-maiden” go-go boots and minis.
As one of the brand’s ambassadors, Willow Smith just debuted her first eyewear campaign for the house last week following in the footsteps of Chanel’s other millennial muse, Lily Rose Depp.
The teen attended the show with her father in tow wearing a futuristic matching set in iridescent turquoise.
Even as a mass was held to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Yves Saint Laurent’s passing (the official end of fashion, according to his partner, Pierre Bergé), a new name, Alexandre Matthieu, burst onto the lineup for the fall-winter haute couture shows.The haute couturier must present a minimum of 25 ensembles twice a year, in January and July, and construct a garment over the course of several fittings, directly on a client’s body or on a dress form replicating her physique.(Hubert de Givenchy, for example, had a dummy built for Audrey Hepburn, whose 31½-22-31½ shape never varied.) From a peak of 200 before World War II, only 11 authentic haute couturiers remain; additionally, there are four correspondent members.Other pieces in The Dominque Sirop Collection include a feathered evening cape, embellished ball gowns and bias-cut silk sheaths by couture designers like Elsa Schiaparelli, Paul Poiret, Jean Patou and Jeanne Paquin, the majority of which were designed between 18.
Neil Warner/Splash News Online Haute Couture week is here again, and with it, a parade of the biggest celebs and models in the world have flocked to Paris to take possession of their coveted front row seats and witness some truly spectacular, mind-blowing fashions.
Earlier, in 1945, Diana Vreeland had implored an assistant to bring back a fabric rose from Paris, as post-diluvian proof that couture had survived World War II.