How Couture Fashion Week Is Changing
This Sunday, 550 columnists from 25 nations will be in Paris close by. A portion of the world’s most give, wealthiest, high-design buyers for the uncovering of the Fall-Winter 2017-2018 Haute Couture. Set in the heart of the European summer, this week is something of a reprieve for us in the form media. Only three days, instead of the eight-day prepared to-wear marathon, and just six to seven shows for every day. It’s a decent comfortable pace at which to wonder about. The work of the world’s most noteworthy couturiers and their groups of talented craftsmans.
Sustained by a few thousand global elite, unfazed by the £250,000 price tag of a bespoke, hand-embroidered dress. The couture collections have long existed outside of the pace and pressure of the commercial sales cycle. It is the genesis of fashion before it became muddied by sell-through reports and a spin-cycle of trends. This season, however, marks a shift. A whole line-up of established ready-to-wear names have appeared on the schedule – A.F. Vandevorst, Dutch designer Ronald van der Kemp, and US wunderkinds Proenza Schouler and Rodarte among them – elected by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode as “guest members” for the week.
Once a sacred institution reserved for createurs awarded the haute couture label by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. First outlined in 1945, each accredited maison is required to have an in-house atelier in which garments are custom-fitted to clients and then realised by a team of 20 or more who use recognised savoir-faire techniques. Today there remain just 15 brands with this distinction — historic maisons like Chanel and Christian Dior, as well as contemporary couturiers like Giambattista Valli and Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko — and of the 36 names on next week’s schedule, only 13 accredited houses appear. (Givenchy and Yiqing Yin are sitting this round out.)
To keep pace with the industry’s shift to ready-to-wear. The guardians of high fashion are opening their arms to a growing number of designers. Outside the strict confines of haute couture. “This means that there are different ways to approach this notion of couture,” Pascal Morand, executive president of the Fédération Française de la Haute Couture.