Couture... the magical constant of fashion. My primitive self has always perceived it literally, as the vocabulary intended. “Haute couture”, the clothes sewn with extreme attention to detail, the highest level of craftsmanship that meet certain well-defined standards, the design that preserve the most precious traditions, the building blocks of fashion, the exquisite elements that make a woman beautiful by recreating her fantasies and desires in clothes that are tailored to fit her body and soul. “A realm supposedly unique as well as sublime” as wwd rightly put it.
Over the last couple of years the constant of couture seemed to have shifted in a direction when the label on the back of the dress boosted by endless publications in top ranked fashion magazines seems to be more important than the quality of the garment itself. I suppose, when a crowd is repeatedly told that something is beautiful, the crowd eventually believes it. The syndrome of the naked emperor kicks in and the truth becomes irrelevant.
Fortunately the fashion organism has to restore the homeostasis no matter how toxic the environment is and this is when we get the pleasure of Chanel drama, arty Alexis Mabille, magnificent Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad, surreal and stunning Schiaparelli, nostalgic Ulyana Sergeenko and, of course, enchanting and opulent Valentino, my personal favourite.
When I saw those daywear looks presented by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, the embroideries that took hundreds of hours and thousands of pearls to make, the antique gold lace, the renaissance-inspired prints, the mink, cashmere and silk and smooth and sensual clutches decorated with gold figurines encrusted with tiny precious stones, I lost my ability to breathe. This was a collection worthy of a classic movie star, mysterious, elegant and impeccable, a woman who is an embodiment of class, not a celebrity starlet who shows up for a couture collection with a bare midriff or a skirt that splits up to there (lets forgo the names at this point).
It was a joy to see that we still have designers who know how to create couture and, most importantly, have an ability to preserve traditions and take them into the future.
Photo source: Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2013 (photography: Gianni Pucci) via style.com & backstage photo via stylebistro.com