13 July 2013

Oh just watch it.

As you saw on the video, it is the making-of video of this Dior haute couture gown.

Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2011 look No.5. Photo by Yannis Vlamos /

It looks like an 'ordinary' couture gown, but when I am asked to explain in few words what haute couture is, I always say it's a pyramid. Out of fabrics, but a pyramid. The building process is intricate and unbelievably complicated even before you touch the original material and cut a mere string. Making the moulage, the drapping of the dress, to make the patterns to be used before cutting the original fabrics, planning what materials are about to be used, the colour, are followed by steps done by a battalion of artisans with impeccable taste and skill. We are talking about thousands-of-dollars-per-yard garments here, so you don't want to mess up with it. You make a whole dress out of less expensive fabrics, with its essence and nature; how it falls, how it stands, how it folds, etc.. Everything is planned as meticulously as making a bomb or something (not that I'm capable of the know-how. I just imagine it).

When people say that now haute couture is no longer having the soul, the gig, or no longer relevant, I am just saying that it's because people start making 'understandable' couture. I know that market and economy is not as friendly as before, so that people are seeking something simple sleek and sensible on couture runway. They replace real flowers on the wall with digital screen. They make couture collection as no-alteration-needed selections. It's not something bad, but that for me, is the point where couture loosing its persona.

Couture runway is supposed to be lavish, outlandish, upscale, extraordinary. When prêt-à-porter or pre-fall offers something reachable, something sense-making, haute couture is supposed to be aspirational. Do you think that what appears on couture runway will be the real thing when it appears on your wardrobe? Not necessarily. Do you think that the bigger-than-life gown with fur and exotic leathers taken from an entire zoo will be the exact thing you'd posses? Not really. You can cut it way down, making less fur, shortening the sleeves, etc. Haute couture looks offer the ultimate dream, the craziest idea you can dream of your future dress. You can make alterations as much as you want. Haute couture isn't a ready-to-pick catalogue. It's the inspiration. It gives brave (yet rich) women who don't necessarily have the creativity and sense of art to dream crazy and cutting-edge picture about what to wear, when it comes time to choose things they can afford it. So when couturiers offer a simple sleek skinny dream, how would you alter it? Making it less luxe, or making 'I-want-this-by-tomorrow' selection, which would make it no difference from ready-to-wear?

It needs your ideas and alteration that it makes haute couture special; that a piece of you is involved in it (and injected through its strings and stitches). It's not necessarily a frocky-wocky ball gown either. Many couture clients in the past are more into suits and dress that can be worn everyday--though I don't advice you to, closely to their daily activities and not just once-in-a-life-time occasion.

The unsurprising fact about couture is that it always gives us surprise. Crazy setting and insane décor is one thing, and yet out-of-box collection is the core. When you buy a simple dress without alteration from couture collection, maybe it is couture dress. The process is haute, the price is even more haute. But the soul is not. Couture is not just simply replacing prints with embroidery. The couture gown of Dior above consists of complication not only from the embellishments and pattern, but also structure and cutting. The garment construction is so complicated it can only be topped by another Galliano-era Dior gowns.

I have watched other Dior couture know-how videos (few numbers, all of Galliano's), and the fact that they were so open about it, they were not afraid that somebody will counterfeit it, recalling that many copycat, inspired-by and paying-homage so-called designers out there. Trying your best to copy, and you won't even be close to it. The ability and creativity are so high it can only be obtained by lifetime training and in most cases, god gift.
I don't know why I just found out this video recently. Like, 5 minutes ago. I have searched and watched (or as I thought I have) almost all the know-hows related to haute couture. Recalling that I found it randomly, I believe there are some other mind-blowing videos about fashion out there.

Signorefandi, there's a deep ocean of secret in every server's heart...