couture couture

It's been a dreadful few days with my cold being what it is, but what bliss to have the couture collections to look at! I think this was a pretty good season for haute couture, with quite a few of those magic moments that only couture can create - not groundbreaking precisely, but a new height in the world of imagination and craft. I don't think haute couture sets fashion direction anymore, but it's a rarified world that isn't determined by trends or practicality, and that's something to appreciate in these fast-fashion days.

My favourite collection is doubtlessly Christian Lacroix's - it was quite a close fight with the Jean Paul Gaultier collection. Both couturiers are incredibly imaginative and more incredibly, there's this sense of relevance - it's still clothes, to worn and loved by women. Certainly they're not practical, but you have the urge to want to pull them on. These are designers who are imaginative and understand craftsmanship, but they also remember the women they dress. I don't know how to explain it, but I certainly didn't feel that way when I saw the Christian Dior show, which was full of pretty dresses that looked - there's that word again - costume-y.

Mr Lacroix is a genius because he makes the most compelling argument for loading on the colour, print, lace, beading and bows, gathers, and drapes all at once - he actually proves that it is possible to do this in an attractive way -

I particularly love this chocolate dress because it's simple and complex at the same time -
There's just this energy and exuberance to Mr Lacroix's clothes.
Mr Gaultier's collection, I confess, I didn't love in its entirety because there were definitely some clunkers - a skirt that appeared to be made of strips of fur was a bad idea - and because I don't usually like clothes with a military motif. That is, until I saw this pantsuit -
It sums up for me what makes Mr Gaultier the name that he is - a sure touch with the subversive, a gift for tailoring, and an eye for mixing elements like Asia-ish touches with mannish tailoring. I wouldn't wear it in red, but in navy or black, or grey, mmmmmmmm.
I also love the beautiful loosely sexy blouses -
the sharp jackets -
and the evening dresses -
There was also a nod to streetwear in the form of this gold puffa -
All in all, it was one of his better collections in recent years. These two collections (and to a slightly lesser extent, the Chanel collection), make me realise what a joy and privilege haute couture, at its best, can be.
Pictures from


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