Fashion is all about the pursuit of the new and the next.
Each collection we see is a glimpse into the future, post-dated; a portent of what is, supposedly, to come.
Designers are perpetually trying to convince us that this (being their catwalk show) is what we don’t know we’ll want in six months’ time.
The varying degrees of their conviction, and
At least, that's supposed to be the deal.
But where does haute couture sit among all this?
Because haute couture is rarely really new, – which is really the point of the stuff.
Women who buy haute couture want a stake in the past, to buy into a grand tradition stemming back to Louis XIV. (He first incorporated the Parisian tailors’ guilds, which grew, two centuries later, into the couture).
Haute couture is about making clothes in the good old-fashioned way. And while its lines may occasionally be innovative, it’s always steeped in the staidness of what has gone before.
Even the venues vary little: Chanel reinvents the Grand Palais; Dior perpetually pitches its tent in the backyard of the Musée Rodin; Schiaparelli changes designer season after season, it seems, but still shows in a sweaty shocking-pink salon in the Hôtel d’Evreux.
It wasn’t always this way. Couture used to be the catalyst for fashion change.
Elsa Schiaparelli once called the couture a laboratory of ideas: it was the place she and her