I think most people don't really know what that word means. I've heard people refer to their jeans and t-shirts as "couture." Officially, couture is a French word that refers to the creation of exclusive, hand-made, custom-fitted clothing. Couture clothing are usually made from high-quality fabrics with extensive attention to detail and finishing. In France, the words "haute couture" are protected by law and only certain fashion houses are allowed to refer to their clothing in this way.
So who buys couture clothing? Worldwide, there are only about 2,000 women who buy these items. With evening gowns costing up to $100,000 and tailored suits starting at $16,000, it's easy to understand why there is a very small market for these clothes. But the tradition of couture continues even with such a small market and many of the themes explored on couture runways are often incorporated into the labels' ready-to-wear lines.
The Fall 2007 Couture shows are happening in Paris this week. On a personal level, I love the evening wear pieces best and found the Chanel, Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier shows to be the most visually stunning and inspiring.
Ever the genius, Karl Lagerfeld delivered haute couture with a twist. LITERALLY. According to Lagerfeld, "Everything is flat at the front. It’s all side effects."
With the recent passing of John Galliano's chief designer, Steven Robinson, one might have expected a somber Dior show. The show was anything but. The clothing was exuberant and paid an homage to painters, fashion illustrators and photographers. Best of all, some of the most famous supermodels such as Gisele, Naomi and Linda walked the runway.
Jean Paul Gaultier
Gaultier's show revealed a variety of influences. From Prince Charming in fairy tales to military and Indian-inspired themes, the Gaultier show existed somewhere between a dream and reality.
For more pictures and runway reviews, check Style.com.