There is no doubt that one of the new aims for Fashion brands right now is to capture the hearts and souls of younger generations. We all know by now that targeting this new mindset is one of the most challenging journeys that Fashion has had in history. Luxury brands, especially, have become much more compromised than ever to connecting with the clients that are currently in their 20’s and they have been trying to find new innovative ways to continue delivering a unique experience online and offline rather than just going for the organic way of delivering a quality product. As a result of this digital world, the commercial side of fashion has become the tool for profit injection for all brands from the mass market to luxury, and as everything keeps evolving faster than ever, it’s intriguing to wonder about the relevance that young generations give to Haute Couture or if they even make the effort to understand it anymore.
In order to understand this topic, it’s essential to understand that Haute Couture was the beginning of everything that we see in Fashion today. Starting in Paris in 1858 before the industrial revolution, the couturiers (a couturier simply means a person who sews) started to emerge as they dressed upper-class women. Each piece produced was unique, extravagant and there was no inventory because it was only meant for an exclusive high-end sector. Starting the 20th century, most of the famous fashion houses were born and they made Haute Couture until the 50’s when Prêt-à-Porter (known as also Ready-To-Wear) emerged to change the scene and offer something that would cater more people and make fashion more accessible to everyone. As time passed, Haute Couture became more of a form of art in Fashion rather than a common wearable design and this is clearly not always understood by everyone. Here are THREE MAIN REASONS why Haute Couture should be relevant in the idea of fashion that young generations have:
The idea of Beauty that Haute Couture delivers:
Like Pierpaolo Piccioli (the current creative director of Valentino) once said, “beauty is not about the physical attributes, it’s about the inner grace of people”. The idea of Haute Couture starts mainly from an individual’s expression of beauty which gets translated into clothes that later become works of art. If you reflect on it, couture is the perfect example of the idea of individuality and how important it is to define people by what they are, not by what they do. Moreover, it is a constant reminder of what exclusivity and uniqueness really mean. People are now more aware than ever of the uniqueness of everything they buy. They want to have something that lets them feel differentiated and special, but that could only go a long way if true beauty is not identified within them. When a designer starts a collection, they have the aim of being recognized for their aesthetical language and so it matters to have people’s perspectives in mind, but it matters, even more, to give your own real perspective of beauty into everything you do.
The value of time that Haute Couture represents:
The key ingredient about Couture is time and that is the most exclusive and intangible thing you could ever think of. When Haute Couture is created, it takes lots of work: from the amounts of fabric, the curated details, all the craftsmanship to ultimately deliver something extravagant and unique. What Couture represents in terms of time should be something that doesn’t get taken for granted by young generations. People are now very used to fast deliveries, they want efficiency more than anything and sometimes we tend to forget that real quality work takes time and when it comes to clothes this is something that should be valued the most. In addition, Couture is something that can’t be done last minute because it is a special experience made of rituals that cover the real reasons why Fashion is there for us in the first place.
Haute Couture is the dream:
The power of fashion relies on its ability to tell stories. The truth is, the most exciting brands are the ones who use Haute Couture for their storytelling and that is ultimately what makes a Fashion House successful. In addition to that, let’s not forget that couture is mostly the reason why students go to fashion school to become designers. The role of couture is to deliver a dream, something out of this world that challenges the perception of the way we see things. It is a way of finding something special and one of a kind that makes people aware of what uniqueness is. There are already brands such as Valentino that are working on making couture more inclusive and it goes beyond the affordability factor. It’s about making young generations understand that couture can be experienced and that it only takes an open mind to understand fashion. Moreover, because Haute Couture represents dreams, it also means that it is limitless.
I’m going to close this story by saying that the relevance we give to Haute Couture is related to the fact that Fashion needs to start getting more personal and authentic. The biggest drawback of having to have a commercial side in Fashion is that people often forget about where it all started. What we see today in fashion is the result of many icons and people that dreamt of beauty and that is the base of everything. Someone I admire a lot once told me that Fashion is not yogurt, and that means that it can’t be understood or analyzed with logic being at the core of your thought process. Truth is, young generations shouldn’t be in the constant need for having new items in their closets because the commercial side of brands is logically telling them to do so; they should rather be in need of new emotions and the impulse to keep dreaming… And that is what Haute Couture is for.