Paris fashion week is wrapping up. I’ve enjoyed monitoring social media this past month to see what the major fashion weeks (New York, London, Milan, and Paris) have in store for their spring collections. It’s weird to me that the runway shows are always so many months ahead, but it does make sense since they’re influencing what trends and colors are going to appear in our stores and other designers need time to take that inspiration and make it an actual product.
Still, I can’t help but wonder what “couture” really means for the rest of us. The above picture is literally something that went down the runway last week. Would you wear it? No one would. That’s not really the point – which is what confuses me. How did fashion get to the point where the top designers are most interested in showing something that they know no one wants to wear?
There isn’t a clue in the definition of the word. “Couture,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, just means “fashionable dressmaking or design” or “high fashion.” By that meaning, one would think couture fashion would be something that the masses want to actually wear.
I do have a theory, though. I think that the absurd couture fashions are all about status symbols. If someone dares to buy a $8000 dress that they know looks terrible, it’s like they’re saying, “I’m so rich that I can do what I want. I’m too rich to feel foolish. You wish you were rich enough to waste this much money.”
Another theory I have is that couture designers are creating pieces of abstract art that are made to be seen rather than worn. Modern Art is all about geometry and color and texture. Just as other art forms have moved away from general aesthetics that please the senses and have become more about experimentation and being unsettlingly avant garde, perhaps fashion is following suit and becoming more about concept than function.
I’m curious about the trickle-down effect that couture runway shows play on everyday fashion though. Do they truly inspire the colors or textures we’re all going to see in stores in a few months? I mean, the above picture does exemplify ruching as a technique. Should we expect to see more of that in the spring?
I know this post probably seems overly rambly, and I apologize for that, but I just wanted to know if anyone else has thoughts on this. What do you make of couture fashion? How do you think it impacts our society? Do you feel inspired when you watch runway shows or do you find them comical? I’d love to see any and all types of opinions in the comment section.
Thanks for reading!