Fashion

Paris Fashion Week – What is Couture? 

 

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.

Photo: Vogue Runway

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!

-XO Tiffy

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art, Local

Lines of Sight

I typically blog about makeup, and occasionally about fashion, but since my website is “Cincy” Couture, I think I want to start including some information about fabulous cultural and artistic events in the greater Cincinnati area. Right now, I’m currently obsessed with lineillism – a new style of painting developed by local artist Jim “J. C.” Hall who is also the subject of a new documentary Lines of Sight. This technique, similar to pointillism, is comprised of tiny vertical lines, and the artist developed the technique after suffering a stroke and spending months where there were lots of vertical lines impeding his vision.

Free stock photo of art, brush, painting, colorful

Right now, the Sharonville Cultural Arts Center is exhibiting a retrospective on Hall’s lifetime of art, including many of his lineillism pieces. Last Friday, they held a special screening on the documentary, and hopefully they’ll be showing it again before the exhibit closes at the end of May.

While the art is phenomenal and absolutely brilliant, the personal details about Hall’s past make the whole exhibit come together. He focuses so much on sharing his experiences of grief and struggle: he tragically lost his beloved wife a few years ago, he has struggled with substance abuse in the past and is a fervent AA devotee, he has battled and continues to battle health issues. It’s clear that, more than anything else, Hall’s mission is to bring hope to others. His art is meant to inspire and encourage those going through similar difficulties. He is truly a remarkable man, and I’m so glad that he was given a grant through ArtsWave to be able to share this traveling museum exhibit, the documentary, and teach others the exquisite lineillism technique.

If you’re going to be in the Sharonville area in May, be sure to stop by the Sharonville Cultural Arts Center’s Westheimer Gallery to see this retrospective. They are open Thursdays from 3pm-7pm , Fridays from 3pm-7pm , and Saturdays from 10am-2pm.

Fashion

In Defense of Knitting 

Project Runway has made sewing cool again, but I wish a TV show would come out that would make knitting cool again! Of course, there’s Miss Marple (who I love) but I really wish there wasn’t a stigma attached to yarn crafts that makes them associated only with the elderly.

 

My current yarn stash!

In May of this year, I was feeling kind of stressed and I decided I wanted to try a new hobby that made me use my hands. I also wanted something that I could do on autopilot, ideally when watching TV. I was at a craft store with my family, and I noticed the yarn section. Knitting and crocheting seemed like they would fit the bill!

Thankfully, my Aunt Pat knew how to knit and crochet and she was happy to show me. I definitely struggled at first, but practicing every day made all the difference. I also watched some great tutorials on the YouTube channel Studio Knit. Within a month, I could make potholders. Soon after, I moved on to fingerless gloves. Now, I can also make hats and socks and baby booties and blankets! Knitting and crocheting have becomes really rewarding hobbies that have enabled me to de-stress while making fun things for my friends, family, and charity. A lot of charities, including my favorite – Warm Up America – accept both finished projects and rectangles they can join together.

Anyway, I just wanted to throw this out there: if you’re looking for a new hobby and you want to be creative and do something rewarding, give knitting or crocheting a try! It’s actually really fun and a lot of my coworkers have been impressed by their handmade gifts. Don’t let the stigma stop you if it’s something that interests you!

If you already play with yarn or if you do decide to give it a try, feel free to post ideas here or share pictures of your masterpieces in the comments section!