Let’s talk about couture, that heady world where a single dress can fetch a six-figure sum. A couture piece is a fantasy for almost all of us, yet despite the death of these collections being long purported and the client pool being so small, couture sales are on the rise. The world’s ultra wealthy are spending, with some clients reportedly ordering multiple outfits per collection.
Haute Couture (high-sewing or high-dressmaking) in simple terms describes clothes that are made to measure. Most of us are getting around in ready to wear, pieces of clothing that are cut to a pre-determined size range. The luxury of shopping couture is that instead of you trying to fit the piece, the piece is made to fit you. Only a select number of houses make true couture, regulated by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
But what does couture mean for the rest of us? Why is it important? The couture collections sell a dream; they are in themselves one big marketing exercise. While there is a comparatively small wealthy client base who actually do purchase the pieces shown, some looks will grace red carpets the world over, garnering brand recognition. A couture show and a couture piece make us small fries who love the directional fashion but cannot afford it all the more likely to buy a lipstick or nail polish to feel a part of that world.
So in the spirit of fantasy, Leiden asked Illustrator Judy Kuo to bring to life some of our favourite pieces from the latest couture collections.