As far as new creative directors go, all of the attention has been on Raf Simons especially after the unveiling of his first couture collection at Christian Dior was met with such critical acclaim. This week, though, it's Hedi Slimane's turn.
Today WWD wrote a piece about the designer's plans at Yves Saint Laurent after having seen a sneak preview of an interview with him in the August issue of Vogue Paris. In the piece Slimane reportedly reveals that he plans to bring couture back at some point in the future. 'Haute couture is a legitimate subject for Yves Saint Laurent and could resume one day,' but continued by saying that 'the priority today is to revamp and redeploy the luxury ready-to-wear.' In it's day YSL competed with the likes of Dior when it came to couture so the decision does make sense.
Designers have long dressed celebrities in their ready-to-wear collections for the red carpet and increasingly, we've seen more celebrities wearing couture too (think Emma Stone in Chanel and Katy Perry in Elie Saab couture) but it looks like that's about to change.
Earlier on this week the New York Times' Cathy Horyn wrote a piece discussing the differentiating factors between ready-to-wear and couture. In the piece she spoke to Karl Lagerfeld, who explained that couture is 'not a red-carpet opportunity,' which isn't something particularly new. What was interesting, though, was when he revealed that Chanel have 'had clients cancel an order after seeing their dress on a celebrity.' Thinking about it, you can understand why. Who would want to see a dress they have spent major dollars on splashed across the tabloids and the subject of conversation on Lorraine?
Over the last few months exclusivity has been the buzz word amongst luxury brands trying to tap into the higher echelon of customers while expanding at the same time. If that is going to be the way forward, the world of couture and celebrity aren't necessarily the best bedfellows.
This year Versace showed their first couture collection after an eight year hiatus and now Dolce & Gabbana have confirmed that they are following suit by showing their first-ever couture show on July 9.
Rather than have the runway show in Paris along with other brands, they've decided to host it in Taormina, Sicily instead. According to the Financial Times' Vanessa Freidman, the decision was a calculated move to help keep the critics away and besides, the guests in attendance are reported to be rich clients rather than journalists anyway.
While the news does come as a surprise, it actually makes sense. Recently Louis Vuitton spoke out about their concern to appeal to the top spenders by creating exclusive collections to tackle the problem of becoming too accessible as they expand. Versace has since followed suit and since Dolce & Gabbana dropped their lower-priced line, D&G, last year, it looks like they're going in the same direction by targeting those high-end customers.
As if Marc Jacobs wasn't already at the centre of rumours and speculation at the moment, last week Robert Duffy hinted that a possible move to Dior is not the only thing on the horizon for the American designer.
In an interview in WSJ magazine he hinted that Jacobs could follow in the footsteps of Giambattista Valli. "He's definitely learned his craft and become an amazing technician," he said. "He could do a couture line."Although a couture collection by Jacobs would make us smile, this sounds more like a way to drum up more attention in the run up to his show than any real suggestion of an expansion into couture.
American stores are working hard at the moment. Barney's have hired Carine Roitfeld to style their catalogue and Christmas windows, as well as securing the editor to appear in their Fall 2011 campaign and are currently working on a big collaboration with Lady Gaga. But Barney's aren't the only ones working on big projects. Today Macy's announced that they are teaming up with Giambattista Valli as part of their Impulse design series.
The collection will be based around the designer's signature pieces with prices starting at $50. "Our customer loves fashion," the store's executive vice president of marketing and advertising Martine Reardon told WWD. "[She] can't necessarily go to couture fashion shows and doesn't want to spend $1,000."
Over the last year we've seen some of the biggest names in couture like Christian Lacroix, struggle to save alive in the current economic climate but that doesn't seem to stir Giambattista Valli.
This week the designer announced that he will launch the brand's couture line this July in Paris. According to Fashionista, the show will take place in the Galerie de la Madelein, home to Valli’s new store and studio. In a press release the brand made it clear that economy aside, there is still "a real demand" for couture pieces.
Amanda Seyfried wore Look 40 from the Armani Prive spring haute couture collection - the style originally worn by Kasia Struss on the runway - to tonight's Academy Awards. We're loving the futuristic strapless neckline and full-on texture.
The House of Gucci - know for its Florentine luxury fashion, but for couture? No. Well, not yet at least. If Frida Giannini has anything to do with it then we may be saying different further down the line. We’ve heard she wants to start a couture collection for Gucci, which means getting certified by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture; not an easy job even for Italy’s biggest-selling brand. What’s more, as Gucci won’t be able to show the collection in Paris, they’ll “sell it on a by-appointment basis and use the couture label to service top celebrities”.
This girl may know her accessories, but couture is an entirely different ball game. So can we expect another Galliano or Lacroix? Probably not, but you never know where hidden talents lie. After all, Giannini’s unique talent and modern vision have fuelled her rise as the leading creative force behind one of the world’s most coveted fashion houses.
We'll forgive you for not having heard of JosephusThimister, who, until now, hasn’t been in the public eye so much. But this former Balenciaga creative director, who began in fashion at Antwerp Fashion School and went on to assist Karl Largerfeld, is now making his way back to couture with a somewhat “political” edge. After more than a decade since his last couture show, opinionated Thimister is turning heads with the concept ‘Bloodshed & Opulence’.
“I feel very peaceful and excited to be returning to couture week, like someone who has woken up from a nine-year-long beauty sleep!" Thimister told Vogue.com. “The world has been changed in every sense since my last couture show by globalisation. I don't think that the concept behind the collection is political, it's more about our personal sensibility towards the word and society. I think that good design should both speak about the world we live in, as well as create beauty. It develops the beauty concept by relating to the world we live in; one cannot exist with the other."