"A model must both maintain and surprise. As a garment, it observes certain rules; as a dress, it transgresses them with insolence. It allows audacity within tradition."
"the art of the well executed, the sense of the accomplished"
"Haute couture consists of secrets whispered from generation to generation."
-Yves Saint Laurent
"a physician of the figure".
"For the great danger of our age is standardisation."
The term model
is used above not to describe
a woman wearing the clothes on the runway
, but a replica of the garment cut from cotton cloth
. Haute couture
deals in millimeters-- everything is measured so that the fabric hangs correctly and follows the contours of the body perfectly without hugging it. The goal is effortless perfection, reflected in hundreds
of hours of work-- shown in the prices, from about $20,000 USD for a suit to $80,000 USD for an evening gown
This is not about impossible standards
, it is not about fashion
in the 'fitting people into molds
and trends' sense: It's about making something from scratch to emphasize the individual
The industry of couture
is highly regulated by the French
goverment. A house
must meet stringent requirements to be able to call itself this-- there are only ten
houses of couture in France
today, though the numbers change constantly-- for example, Balenciaga
dropped out of couture, and Pierre Cardin
now only shows to a private audience
. They are:
1. Coco Chanel
2. Pierre Balmain
3. Christian Dior
4. Hubert de Givenchy
5. Louis Féraud
(founded in 1955)
6. Yves Saint Laurent
7. Jean-Louis Scherrer
8. Emanuel Ungaro
9. Jean Paul Gaultier
10. Christian Lacroix