Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Stitch in Time - Toujours Couture

Balenciaga’s black tissue-paper taffeta dress, ballooning sash, and velvet coat
from Vogue, October 1, 1951.
by Horst/courtesy of Condé Nast Archives

Paris fashion week just closed, which seems a fine time to give another look at this recent Vanity Fair article. I've always thought of haute couture as fantastic, costume-y extravaganzas that aren't meant to be worn off the run way. But as Amy Fine Collins writes, by law:
... an haute couturier is a designer who presides over the creation of hand-finished made-to-order clothing, in a “laboratory” that employs at least 20 workers in Paris. 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.
When time travel is perfected, I'm making a beeline for Givenchy, circa 1957.

It's an entertaining piece that traces the history and changing face of the Paris houses from Worth to Gaultier, Lacroix, and the Kaiser today.

Christian Lacroix for Jean Patou
hand-painted toile de jouy cocktail dress, 1987
By Francois Hallard/courtesy of Condé Nast Archives

Amy Fine Collins on Haute Couture |

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