Saturday, 10 April 2010

Couture - What is the point?

I love the couture shows and the luxury, the drama and the fact that it is all completely over the top. But I am sure many others have written and posted on this subject and I am still not really getting it, what is the point of couture?

By Couture, I mean 'Haute Couture', the very highest end of luxury fashion, the luxurious, hand crafted pieces of artwork made with intricate detail and expert tailoring made by a select few fashion houses as opposed to Juicy Couture, Tesco Couture or anything else which uses the word 'couture' in its name.

I know that unless there are some very dramatic changes in my life (perhaps a very big lottery win), I will never wear couture or probably even get to see it up close. So for me the point has always really been an art form to look at. I have also always thought that couture is important as inspiration for all sorts of other fashion. However, the main point of couture is its attention to detail and craftmanship, if this other fashion can't replicated on a lower budget, then is there any point?

From the fashion brands like point of view couture is part of their overall marketing . Whilst they often make a loss on couture is is considered a worthwhile exercise in building the brand and like many branding or marketing activities has a subtle effect that cannot neccesarily be measured by a return on investment. The Haute Couture shows recieve massive press coverage, this is so much more valuable than advertising. But with the current economic situation and so many fashion houses struggling (The loss of the Christian Lacroix label is a real shame), is couture still relevant? and with conspicuos consumption being very out of fashion, will it sell any more?

The latest of the couture collections seem to have set out to prove that couture is still very relevant. Young models to appeal to a new generation of fashion lovers and subtle luxury that is not overtly opulent. They are appealing to a whole new range of customers notably from Asia, so their relevance is evolving and changing all of the time - as is everything in the fashion world.

I think for those select few houses that do have couture collections, it is a sign of their status of being top of their game. With new up and coming labels launching all of the time, Haute Couture allows these labels to stay ahead of the pack. I guess the point of couture is not really whether it sells, I expect they can always give it away or lend it to celebrities for red carpet events. It is a marketing tool and one which the rest of us can enjoy as an art form, so lets enjoy it (even if we can't wear it). Here are some of my favourites from the SS10 couture collections:

Armani Privé


Jean Paul Gaultier


pictures from


MargieF said...

i agree that perhaps haute couture isnt the most relevant of fashions but i would hate to see such amazing collectons disappear...dior and chanel never fail to blow me away

Wigsrika said...

I like your collections of the couture.

All Women Stalker said...

They are still relevant in a way that they keep the rest of us inspired. They are truly truly beautiful pieces.

J E S S U said...

My understanding is that there are still people who would BUY couture and not just borrow it or be gifted something. Non-celebrity wealthy women seem to be able to afford to drop ten grand on a dress and proudly wear it to a ball or charity or wherever it is that they could wear such clothing.

Style it You said...

I love couture fashion, I don't think it's something you see everyday, but I think its the springboard for RTW lines which make them more accessible to the rest of us. While some may get an original (like an original work of art) the rest of us get the print :)

Anonymous said...

Couture is an exercise, in design and techniques, where a designer would try out their most creative ideas, those that were well received would be translated to Pret-a-Porter etc...the idea was it was less "costly" to make one, than make X number...either way Haute Couture shows what a designer really can do!

M said...

it is relevant as the highest expresion of fashion

maqui berry said...

All of those photos look great with the exception of the second one. (It looks like something someone would wear to a funeral).
I really like the 3rd outfit.