How are you? A curtain fell in Paris last night, because it was the last day of Couture Fashion Week…which only just started on Monday. It’s always a short season. I don’t think it’s ever even a full week.
People who aren’t in my world tend to misunderstand exactly what couture is and why everything is so expensive. And I understand how it can look from the outside! So I figured maybe I could give you an insider’s breakdown. And there’s my girl Jaime Xie. She has such a deep love and appreciation for couture and she would never miss a week, so we can also get into some of the looks I put together for her this season!
But first: “haute couture” is just French for “high sewing.” It’s considered to be the most elevated, highest form of fashion. It’s the cream of the crop. With ready-to-wear, your tailors use machines to sew garments that get made in small production runs so the quality stays high. Couture is a whole other animal. It’s made-to-measure. Everything is hand-stitched, hand-sewn, hand-beaded. All that intricate embroidery is done by hand. If there are tiny feathers that fan out from a neckline, they get put there by hand.
Every little detail represents hours upon hours of surgical precision.
That’s why the dresses cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It can take 400 hours to make just one. Plus, everyone doesn’t just get to say they make couture. There’s a trade association in France that has all these specific standards a house has to meet if they want to call the clothes “couture.” And everything has to be made-to-order for private clients only.
What I’m saying is that the whole thing is very serious and artisanal. It’s an art form. Couture doesn’t even really make any money because it’s so expensive and so few people actually have bank accounts big enough to buy anything. Most people say there are only 2,000 couture customers, and that doesn’t even mean those people buy couture regularly. Just that they’ve bought before. I mean, this is a thing that’s been around since Marie Antoinette was in power! That’s how decadent and luxurious and exclusive it is. It’s like a secret society.
And that brings me to Jaime, the high priestess of Couture Fashion Week. She’s one of the few people who I would say is in the club. She adores couture, and she has the means to wear it. So she’s become this fixture of all the street style blogs that those photographers who camp out at the shows run. People recognize how adventurous she is!
And that’s what I love about working with her. Fashion is her main thing. It’s the thing she cares most about. I work with a lot of athletes and singers and actresses. And that doesn’t mean style isn’t important to them. It just means it compliments the other thing they do. But for Jaime, it’s different. She's been going to the couture shows since she was 17. She thinks about style more deeply than a lot of other people do! And she’s always down to experiment and let me try things, but also really understand what decisions went into putting a look together. It helps that we both love a dramatic fashion moment.
With fashion week, the journey from wherever you woke up to whatever shows you’re going to are kind of like their own fashion show. You have to dress the part. Jaime will change into an outfit in a car on the way to a show. That’s how seriously she takes it! She was hitting all the big shows this year.
She did Schiaparelli…
Jean Paul Gaultier...
Viktor and Rolf...
And Alaïa, where we sourced this archive SS1992 piece that Naomi wore on the runway…
But anyway, it’s a wrap on couture fashion week!
With that being said: SAY SOMETHING in the comments! I really want to know what shows you were loving, what you didn't love so much, which of Jaime's looks you like best...or just drop in to say hi. I always love to hear from you.
Until next time,