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The Cult Of Couture
Haute couture. The French phrase, which literally means "high sewing," is tossed around cheap nike air max casually these days, into fashion magazine headlines and onto the labels of irreverent knitwear brands.
But in fashion parlance, haute couture is something very specific: A garment that is completely custom-made, from impeccable lining to hand-stitched hem. Not only is the dress bespoke, the fabrics and embellishments are of the highest quality, and the tailors, seamstresses, embroiderers, lace makers and other craftspeople who spend hundreds of hours assembling these pieces are the most skilled in the world.
Couture is also a serious investment--like a work of art that is displayed on the body rather than a wall. Customers will pay anywhere from $25,000 upward for a couture gown; in extreme cases, the costs can reach into the millions. isabel marant sneaker sale The Scott Henshall diamond-encrusted dress worn by Samantha Mumba to the 2004 premiere of Spiderman II was priced at approximately jordan 11 bred $9 million.
To the untrained eye, there's little difference between a $3,500 Derek Lam frock bought off the rack at Bergdorf Goodman and a $150,000 Christian Lacroix evening gown. At society f such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute Gala, you'll see wealthy women flaunting both styles. But, when a socialite wears couture it means she's really serious about fashion--and she has pockets deep enough to indulge her passion.
Houston socialite and couture collector Becca Cason Thrash has developed a reputation as a fashion connoisseur. Cason Thrash is considered a minor collector--she owns roughly a dozen pieces, which she has worn time and again. mulberry online "You amortize couture," she says. "You buy a piece and you wear it in Houston, then you wear it again in New York, then London, then Paris put it away for a couple of years and when you pull it out, it looks all brand new again."
Cason Thrash stresses that the couture social circle is not an easy one to access. When she began collecting six or seven mulberry outlet UK years back, she was lucky enough to be guided by Suzanne Saperstein , the woman Vanity Fair once called "probably the world's No. 1 consumer of haute couture."
"Couture is almost like a private club," says Cason Thrash, who favors American designer Ralph Rucci, as well as Europeans Christian Lacroix, Christian Dior and Jean-Paul Gaultier. With Saperstein in her corner, she was introduced to the right people. "Even though they need the business, it not easy at first to get your invitations jordan for sale or to get to know the directresses of the houses. But once you navigate your way through that rocky beginning, every show is a lovely reunion with like-minded individuals."
Cason pink nike air max Thrash loves couture because it's "the pinnacle of fashion. You see the collective, creative juices in their finest moment going down the runway in Paris every January and July," when the haute couture shows are held. "For the girl who really, really does love fashion, it's the most exhilarating experience in the whole wide world," she says.
Versace Atelier, a couture brand that caters not only to the rich but to a host of glamorous celebrities (the house made the nude goddess gown Uma Thurman wore to this year's Oscars, as well as Jessica Alba soft gold shirred bodice and lace skirt), decided in 2004 to leave the Paris shows and focus solely on personal appointments with clients.
When privileged customers are invited to the Versace's Fifth Avenue flagship, they are escorted jordan 11 to the sixth floor salon, a space graced by marble floors, walls of pale gray Venetian plaster, a glass elevator and an elegant roof terrace, all of which complement the opulence of the collection. This jeremy scott shoes is a very different Versace than the air jordans for sale jeremy scott adidas brash yellows and reds of the brand's late 80s and early jeremy scott wings 90s aesthetic; the requisite Italian flash has been tempered with black leather sofas and high ceilings. It's more twinkle than glare.
Clients who place orders must understand that it may take up to four months to construct a dress. Take one in particular, a 1920s-inspired gown made of dove grey chiffon. Decorated with delicate metal decals and a beaded fringe, it carries more than 50,000 Swarovski crystal nike air max 90 beads, celine nano bag and took more than 150 man hours to assemble. It's priced accordingly, at around $90,000.
(Versace, like most couture houses, is reluctant to give exact prices for gowns. A woman's shape and individual desires will factor heavily into final costs. More fabric or beading means jeremy scott shoes online more time required of the atelier's highly-skilled staff, which of course raises prices.)
Many customers choose to visit Versace's Milan flagship, Via Gesu, to peek into the archives, where they can pull dresses from all the way back to the 1970s for inspiration or even replication. retail for Versace.
"These are evergreen pieces," he says. "Every season we come out with a collection, yes. But I wouldn't talk of seasons. "Couture is the perfect example of something that is always the central issue in any kind of luxury goods economy--that is to have something that is virtually unique, and not quite unique. You don't want to have someone looking like you at the Oscars, but you do want to know that you'll have the best style of the season."
Says Lorenzi, "When you spend from $60,000 to over $100,000 (for a gown), you really want the perfect dress for you." And perfection never goes out of style.
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