Saturday, June 30, 2012

All about couture: Part 2 (The couture of today)

(Part 1 is about the history of couture and can be found here.)

Haute couture has over a century of history but I think it's safe to say that the art of couture has not become stagnant. The FW12.13 couture week will be taking place in Paris starting tomorrow. Valentino will be livestreaming its couture show, with limited spots that can be reserved here. Dolce & Gabbana will soon be showing their first ever couture collection. Giambattista Valli has also recently begun showing couture and I find his designs to be quite stunning.
Source: style.com
Source: style.com
Although couture is no longer as popular as it was some decades ago, it is still very much alive. Today, it does not generate a very significant profit but is still beneficial to major brands. Couture lines add prestige to other lines by the same brand and entices customers to buy the brand's other products including ready-to-wear, fragrance, beauty, and accessories. I find that Chanel and Dior have been quite successful in using this strategy.
Source: style.com
Source: style.com
Source: style.com
It is sometimes difficult to appreciate all the process work behind couture dresses by simply looking at the final product, yet it is impossible to create such a beautiful final product without all the process work. Here is a video that reveals a bit of the behind-the-scenes work surrounding haute couture creations:



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yves is forever

I've always had a lot of respect for Hedi Slimane as a designer but I couldn't help but feel disappointed when I heard that he had replaced Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent. I've always been so in love with Pilati's work from the silhouettes to the colours to the perfect tailoring he's famous for. Here's a bit of Stefano Pilati's work:
Photo: FW11.12
Source: style.com
Photo: FW10.11
Source: style.com
Photo: SS12
Source: style.com
I know that Slimane is a great designer so I try to be optimistic about what he could bring to the table, but I don't find it particularly encouraging that he's changed the label's name from Yves Saint Laurent to Saint Laurent Paris. For starters the "Paris" seem a bit redundant to me as he has just announced that he will be mainly working from Paris. I'm also a bit unsure about what to think of the YSL designer working from LA. There's something inherently French about the brand and I hope that doesn't disappear. I've also heard that "SLP", which would be the abbreviation for "Saint Laurent Paris", is also the abbreviation for a not-so-nice word in French.

"YSL" is such an iconic name and logo, and to me, it makes no sense to change it. "Yves" is part of the whole equation. It makes me a bit worried about the direction he'll go with the design aesthetics. Here's a bit of work from Yves Saint Laurent himself:
Photo: SS01 Haute Couture
Source: style.com
Photo: SS01 Haute Couture
Source: style.com
Photo: from his final collection, SS02 Haute Couture
Source: style.com
It could be that I'm reading too much into this or that I love tradition a bit too much. I think it's worth noting that the original name of the ready-to-wear line was "Saint Laurent Rive Gauche", so I can't say I'm absolutely devastated about the change. I suppose the new name is a way of backtracking. On the other hand calling it "Saint Laurent Rive Gauche" was to differentiate the ready-to-wear line from the couture line (which went by the full name), and YSL no longer does couture. I'm hearing that everything aside from ready-to-wear will still be called "Yves Saint Laurent". I think it's one thing to separate couture from ready-to-wear, but now that couture's gone, I just don't see the need to separate ready-to-wear from the rest of the brand.

I'm still keeping my hopes up that Slimane will not disappoint us in the design department. While I don't expect to love his work the way I loved Pilati's work, I do believe that Slimane is an excellent designer and is capable of great things.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

All about couture: Part 1 (History of haute couture)

The haute couture of today is a marriage between modern fashion and the classic sartorial arts, from precise tailoring to intricate embroidery. The term itself translates literally from French as "high dressmaking", a rather fitting name if you ask me. Couture is a specific form of of clothing design in which each piece is fitted for the private client's measurements and made with incredible craftsmanship. Today, couture houses we are most familiar with include Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Chanel.
Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012
Source: tomandlorenzo.com
Haute couture first took off in the second half of the 19th century. One of the earliest couturiers was Charles Frederick Worth, who is often considered the father of couture today. He was an Englishman who set up a shop in Paris and was not always taken very seriously. Another famous name in couture was Paul Poiret, who was active in the early 20th century. His designs reflected Oriental influences and a world of fantasy.
Dress by Paul Poiret, said to be the first couture dress without a corset
Source: chicagohistory.org
It was not long before women began to rise as top couturières, including Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. Chanel was an important icon, notable for chic and innovative fashion.
Coco Chanel at work
Source: ninagarcia.com
The post-World War II period saw the continued success of couture, including the establishment of Christian Dior's couture house. This period of time was considered a golden age for couture as roughly 15,000 women were customers at the time. Today, that number has decreased to 2,000 and some suspect that haute couture will eventually fade away. I, for one, hope that it will stay around for a long time because the results can be truly beautiful and it's an irreplaceable art.
Haute Couture by Jean Paul Gaultier
Source: nymag.com
I will soon post up Part 2, which will focus more on the couture of today.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lusting after... #1

My school year is almost over and I've been doing a fair bit of daydreaming. Exams are only a couple of days away now but I'm still giving myself some space and allowing myself to daydream a little.

I'm in love with the print and silhouette of this Giles Resort 2013 dress.
source: style.com
This vintage Chanel necklace is absolutely timeless.
source: farfetch.com
Miu Miu SS12 was such a classic with its beautiful capes.
source: style.com
I want these Icepinkim earrings, even though I don't have pierced ears.
source: www.icepinkim.com
I love the super cool fedora and sunglasses Diane Kruger wore at Cannes 2011.
source: d.kruger.free.fr
These Alberta Ferretti Resort 2013 shoes immediately stood out to me.
source: vogue.it

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

All about Valentino

If there's anything Valentino has been consist with, it's making beautiful clothing. People seem to have mixed opinions about today's Valentino, but I think it's undeniable that their designs are always consistently beautiful. The maison was originally established in 1960 by Valentino Garavani, who has since retired. The current designers of the label are Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, whose collections seem to get better every time.

I recently made a post about the digital museum and archives that they released a few months back. It seems like I just keep getting new reasons to love Valentino more and more. Their Resort 2013 collection has recently come out and it's absolutely divine. May I mention how adorable the bags look?
Source: style.com

These are some of my favourite looks from the collection, I'm completely in love with the colours.
Source: style.com
Source: style.com
Source: style.com

I'll end off this post with the super fun commercial for Valentino's fragrance, Valentina. It was released last year and features model Freha Beha Erichsen.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A love for resort season

Somehow, I've so far managed to stay sane despite the craziness of upcoming exams. Maybe it's because photos from resort/cruise shows have been coming out lately and I've been enjoying them wholeheartedly. One thing I love about these collections are that they tend to be more relatable to the average person. Different brands go in different directions so some are also more experimental with resort collections. For me, these are some highlights so far:

Thakoon's collection is one of my favourites. It's soft with a tough edge and beautifully structured.
Source: style.com

Chanel was another wonderful collection. I especially love this dress and the bracelets.
Source: style.com

This lovely lace dress caught my eye in Monique Lhuillier's very colourful collection. The shoes look incredibly cool!
Source: style.com

To me, this geometric Lanvin piece is the perfect amount of edginess.
Source: style.com

This look by Preen is absolutely incredible. I love that it's understatedly chic.
Source: style.com

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The archives of Valentino

On December 5th, 2011, Valentino released an interactive digital archive that is free for anyone to download. You can walk through the virtual museum and explore the different rooms. I downloaded the archives when they came out several months ago but only recently found time to finish looking through them. The link to download it can be found here.

Source: http://blog.stylesight.com
To me, the main attraction of the archives are the incredibly high-res virtual models of countless dresses. They are all stunning and an absolute delight to admire. One of the sections of the museum has them organized by colour and print. Also on display are sketches, photos, and videos that provide an in depth look at the details and processes behind the designs, as well as the legend surrounding the brand. Not only is it stunning to look at, but it's also an excellent introduction to Valentino's history Here is a trailer released prior to the launch of the digital museum:


Once again, it can be downloaded here. If you haven't taken a look at it yet, I highly recommend that you do. It is definitely worth the time to look through and I promise that you will find it breathtaking.