Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haute Couture & Haute Joaillerie: Spring/Summer 2010

The Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2010 shows commenced this past Sunday the 24th in Paris with Josephus Thimister and will end on Wednesday the 27th with Valentino. The French term Haute Couture literally means "high sewing" and refers to custom-made clothing created using the highest quality fabrics and sewn with considerable attention to detail. The bespoke clothing often features very time-consuming embellishments done by hand.

Pierre Balmain Haute Couture, 1955. (image via the Victoria & Albert Museum)

Dior seamstress (image via designmuseum.org)

Christian Dior Haute Couture, 1953. (image via designmuseum.org)

Christian Dior sketching (image via designmuseum.org)

The historically Parisian tradition of Haute Couture is a tradition that is highly guarded by the French. According to French law originating in 1945, to be considered a legitimate House of Haute Couture, designers must meet a number of criteria including designing made-to-order for private clients with one or more fittings, having an atelier (workshop) in Paris with a minimum of 15 full-time employees, and presenting a collection twice a year to the Paris press with at least 35 exits consisting of both daytime and evening looks.

Hubert de Givenchy "Les Muguets" ("Lily of the Valley") Haute Couture, 1955. (images via the Victoria & Albert Museum)

To be accepted as a Haute Couture House and to be invited to present during the Haute Couture shows in Paris is regarded as the most exclusive accolade a clothier can receive in the world of fashion.

The bespoke nature, intricate details and creative whimsy that Haute Couture triumphs have always fascinated me. Consequently, I was elated to hear that Haute Joaillerie Houses would be invited for the first time to show during Paris couture week!

(image via the Victoria & Albert Museum)

The companies, whose designs represent the pentacle of luxury, craftsmanship and creativity within the jewelry world, will show their Haute Joaillerie exclusively on January 28th. The lucky Haute Joaillerie invitees include Boucheron, Chanel Joaillerie, Chaumet, Mellerio Dits Meller and Van Cleef & Arpels. The Haute Joaillerie will no doubt be nothing short of spectacular and I'm anxiously awaiting the first photographs of these jewels to appear!


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