Our most noteworthy haute couture designers - think Chanel and Givenchy - are breathing life back into this 'dying art'.
Text by Alannah O'Neill
THE ONE TO WATCH
GIAMBATTISTA VALLIâ€™s couture debut was one of the most anticipated shows. He presented a collection of fanciful, sculptural and feminine cocktail frocks to a posh, celebrity-packed crowd. He later said that the belts, which were often paired with delicate chiffon gowns, were meant to suggest â€śthe arms of a man around his woman.â€ť
THE COMEBACK KID
Toronto-based socialite SYLVIA MANTELLAâ€™s first couture piece was a vintage Pierre Balmain corset from a Paris boutique. â€śIt wasnâ€™t made for me,â€ť she says. â€śIâ€™ve never worn itâ€”but it was so exquisite, and it peaked my interest in couture.â€ť Mantella, who frequently attends the Paris shows, has an extensive and enviable collection. Her most recent acquisition is a lavish coral Giambattista Valli gown. â€śThe dress is outstanding. They took my measurements, and Iâ€™ll be going for my second fitting soon.â€ť While some gasp at coutureâ€™s extravagant price tagâ€”$10,000 and upâ€”Mantella doesnâ€™t flinch. â€śSome people collect Renoirs,â€ť she says. â€śMy husband collects ancient fossils. I collect couture. Itâ€™s important to support the craft.â€ť
Giovanni Bedin went back to the archives to create his collection, channelling ladies fashions from the 1850s that made the HOUSE OF WORTH a name synonymous with couture. Inspired by panniers and structured cages, each look took more than 300 hours to create. A quick history lesson: Charles Frederick Worth, who is known as the â€śfather of haute couture,â€ť staged the first fashion shows, pioneered the idea of fashion seasons and was one of the first male designers to create fashions for women, including dresses for the masses.