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 ours, are what decide whether a show is good or not. And whether said designers can actually pay the bills.

At least, that's supposed to be the deal. 
Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2018 
(c) Instagram

But where does haute couture sit among all this?

Because haute couture is rarely really new, – which is really the point of the stuff.

Dior Haute Couture F/W 19
(c) Instagram

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.

Ellie Saab Haute Couture
(c) Instagram

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 haute cohorts experimented to push technique, inspiration and, eventually, the system as a whole, forward. 

The Independent

Categories: Uncategorized