The most celebrated and exclusive member of the fashion family is Couture, also known as Haute Couture. High, arty, opulent fashion, it swathes the bodies of society's upper-eschelon, its images disseminated to the masses through style magazines, television shows, and movies.... [more]
The most celebrated and exclusive member of the fashion family is Couture, also known as Haute Couture. High, arty, opulent fashion, it swathes the bodies of society's upper-eschelon, its images disseminated to the masses through style magazines, television shows, and movies. And like all great works of art, these creations do not come cheap. Depending on the designer, fabric, and labor involved, a single Couture piece can be valued at thousands of dollars. A 1930s-style beaded silk dress, like the one Annette Bening wore in the film "Bugsy," requires a team of craftspeople working three weeks straight just to sew on the beads.
Couture is unveiled every season on runways in five major cities: Paris, Milan, London, New York, and Tokyo. Couture fashion shows are celebrity-studded, paparazzi-laden explorations of the fantastic possibilities that apparel can realize. Uninhibited by the demands of mass-production, designers are allowed to shine artistically, diving into unusual fabrics and materials, pushing the limits on construction and taste. Couture clothes are for art, marketing, and braggadocio-style posturing, but they're not for general consumption.
But in its top position in the fashion world, Couture cannot help but set trends. Often designs are toned down, then loosely imitated for mainstream shoppers -- in other words, those who can't afford the exorbitant prices. The makeup and hairstyles seen on Couture runways are also featured in the glossy fashion pages, inspiring the average woman to aspire to this ultimate beauty. When bold red lipstick is big on the catwalk, that look is easy to duplicate at home.
Behind-the-scenes glimpses of Couture culture appear on the big screen in the film "Unzipped" and in Sandra Bernhard's satirical pop song "On the Runway." Major design houses include Christian Lacroix, Chl'e, Chanel, and Gucci.
As part of the 2010 Urban Culture Project Studio Residency Program Exhibition, CUMULUS, a site-specific performance entitled "Four Seasons", was performed live at the opening reception at Paragraph in Kansas City, MO.
Choreographed by Jane Gotch, with costumes visually refer ...