“Real Haute Couture Demands Could Be Gloriously Re-Invented”
This week, Colin McDowell writes for the Business of Fashion that couture could be poised for a comeback as new talents and buyers emerge in developing markets like China, and the increasing globalization of the fashion industry means Paris may be the heart, but no longer the home, of high fashion.
From the piece:
If we were to contemplate a root-and-branch reorganisation of the international fashion scene, would we drop couture entirely? Or leave it as a self-indulgent and privileged reward for Paris in return for leading and preserving high fashion since the 18th century, often against formidable odds? Or, perhaps we would entirely re-examine the system of separate fashion ‘city states’ that we currently have, each known for its individual and more or less unique fashion profile. After all, today, the creation of fashion is totally international, no matter where a label is based. The great ateliers of haute couture, as with ready-to-wear, are staffed by young talents from across the globe, whether or not the label on the garment says it’s French, Italian, British, American or any other nationality.
And why should others not follow, especially in emerging markets? We are told that Asia, and especially China, has a longing for couture. Why shouldn’t it sponsor its own couture houses with talents from Paris — initially at least? And I do not mean the established names in Paris couture, most of whom are already active in the Chinese market. I’m thinking of small, independent enterprises using young international design talents who have learned at the feet of the great couturiers.
As Jing Daily has previously written, “made in China” couture is indeed a simmering and relatively new scene, dominated by leading figures such as Guo Pei, Zhang Zhifeng of NE-TIGER, Qi Gang, and Wang Peiyi, all of whom produce stunning and elaborate one-of-a-kind garments that feature ornate craftsmanship, traditional silks, natural dyes and earth tones, and references to ancient Chinese design cues.