Thursday, July 19, 2007


Last night I caught a PBS special on "the secret world of haute couture" and I found myself glued to the television. The show was an expose' of sorts, breaking into 'the club' of women who buy couture. The club isn't filled with celebrities or socialites, it's actually quite an old group of baroness's and wives of wealthy oil tycoons.

What I found facinating and totally didn't realize, was that this world of haute couture is dying. In it's heyday, right after the second world war, the number of fashion houses showing in Paris was over 100. Today, the group has whittled down to 12 or 13 designers. Those designers, of course, include my favorites, Chanel, Versace and Dior...

What I loved most about these women was that they guarded their couture collections with a mysterious secrecy. They were illusive, hard to track down and not one of them told exactly how many pieces of couture was in their closets. Each of the women intereviewed noted that their obsession with couture was an obsession with art. Wearing couture isn't about making headlines or attracting attention (or men), it's about walking into a room and knowing that you're wearing a painstakingly constructed work of art that no other woman in world will ever wear.

It seems rather sad to be that the world of couture is shrinking. It's being gobbled up by fashion for the masses. I'm certainly part of the masses and I'm not at all complaining about the wide selection of affordable, stylish clothes available to me. However, I hate to see the world of high fashion as art disappearing. It's not practical, oftentimes it's not even wearable, but it's an irresistable art form that's in slow decline and there seems something very tragic about that.

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