The fashion week season has begun and the new seasons await us with so many possibilities ahead. And while menswear and RTW both have a dear space in our hearts, it’s haute couture that intrigues and stuns every year, the climax of the season.
The term ‘Haute Couture’ translates to high dressmaking; haute meaning high and couture is French for fashion, sewing and/or dressmaking. From beginning to end these art pieces are made to measure each clients measurements, constructed by hand, created from the highest quality of fabrics and sewn to perfection with time-consuming, hand-executed techniques.
These techniques give a luxury you can’t find in a digital world like today, the essence of time. It takes two people around 2 weeks to make a single suit all by hand, the elaborate gowns take hundreds of hours of labor while the wedding dresses can take up to thousands.
The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture was established in 1868 to safeguard the industry is the governing body with 24 members, 10 of them being official members. The specifications for each house is they are to employ a minimum of 20 staff and show at least 25 looks in January and July.
And while we hear of the couturiers like Chanel, Schiaparelli, Versace, Christian Dior, Bouchra Jarrar it’s the ateliers like Maison Lemarié, Ecole Lesage, Maison Massaro and Causse Gantier who have me smitten during this time of the year.
Maison Lemarié– feather master est. in 1880. Was 1 of over 300 feather workers in 1900, by the 1960s. Lemarié is also the florist behind Coco Chanel’s timeless camellia, a fabric flower that has been designed in practically any and all fabrics.
Ecole Lesage In 1945 the Lesage family took over Michonet, an embroidery workshop that was founded in 1858. The atelier is home to the largest collection of couture embroidery in the world.
Founded in 1892 the house of Causse Gantier is linked to Millau, a French town known for it’s master glove manufacturers. While the tanning and design techniques are centuries old yet the house has remained timeless in the now.
The couture houses are mainstreamed in the media during fashion week but it’s the ateliers that put the details that make us all