Fashion

Three Designers on Why Couture Is Important

As Spring 2018 couture week comes to an end, three different designers discuss the reasons why, sometimes couture is better than the traditional ready-to-wear.
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This season, the Haute Couture collections may have been the most modern and new-feeling thing about fashion month. Despite the fact that New York Fashion Week has yet to begin, many designers have decamped from New York to show on the runways of Paris, even if they weren’t showing couture collections in the traditional sense of the word.

Last season, in July, Rodarte and Proenza Schouler—both New York-based brands—opted for the couture calendar model. In a way, these brands previously fell on the upper echelons of the NYFW calendar, known for having higher prices, more intricate craftsmanship and in general, a more luxurious feeling than many of the labels on the traditional ready-to-wear schedule in New York.

And now this season, a host of other labels traditionally not associated with the world of couture have ended up on the calendar. The Australian label Ellery presented a collection that, according to the brand statement, was both ready-to-wear and couture though the lines weren’t distinctly definable. Cult-favorite label Acne Studios decided to merge its pre-fall collection with its mainline one to show during the couture calendar as opposed to its regular show on the RTW calendar during Paris Fashion Week in March. Proenza Schouler, again, had its show on the couture calendar and attracted the same group of guests as the mainstay calendar-regulars like Schiaparelli, Chanel, and Dior.

At times, couture can feel irrelevant to the rest of the world who may not be deeply ingrained in fashion, too. It’s expensive and can be seen unreachable, and typically, there aren’t as many usual trends exhibited. Which makes it all the more interesting that designers are choosing to come together on this schedule. Here, we talked to the designers behind three different labels on the official schedule on why they choose couture and why, exactly, it’s important to them in a time when it seems like a trend.

Maxime Simoens, of Azzaro

Simoens took the helm of the Azzaro (an iconic French fashion label formed in the 1960s) brand last season.

“Haute couture is the ultimate creative ground for a designer; the technical limits are pushed to the extreme thanks to the know-how and the French craftsmanship. It goes beyond the limits of industrialization and imposes an extreme, bold and unconventional vision.”

Alexandre Vauthier

The French couturier who also has a ready-to-wear line loved by celebs including Rihanna, Bella Hadid, Caroline Vreeland and more.

“Couture is super important to me because it is all about luxury, quality, and creativity. It is a unique process showcasing skills from the greatest métiers of the world. It’s not only the ball gowns and evening dresses where you can see the many hours of luxury techniques that go into couture but it is also the finer details that go into creating the perfect tailoring of a tuxedo jacket and having it fit precisely to a women’s body. Couture is the best of the best and for me it remains the most important collection where I continue to challenge myself.”

Christine Nielsen, Hyun Mi Nielsen

The designer began presenting her newly-founded line at Haute Couture week three seasons ago on the official schedule (no small feat, and quite unusual). She previously worked at Burberry Prorsum, Alexander McQueen. (She worked under McQueen himself), Givenchy and Balenciaga.

“Couture is important to me because of craft and technique. A piece made by human hand for a human being - finding the perfect in the sometimes imperfect. I appreciate the time it takes to make a garment by hand, the quality of a stitch, a leaving a subtle trace of the person who crafted the piece, the emotion and love that has been poured into it.”

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