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Givenchy and the Fate of Haute Couture

  • Date Submitted: 02/12/2014 01:09 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.4 
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GIVENCHY has decided to suspend its haute couture line and will not show during the Paris schedule in January 2013. The brand released a statement to WWD stating that it “does not rule out couture presentations in the future” and will continue making and displaying its couture looks internally to private clients and celebrities. Givenchy will continue to fund its couture atelier even though there is no word on when public showing will ever be orchestrated again.

Givenchy’s decision may come as a surprise to some, but for others, this was not unforeseen. Since Riccardo Tisci, the creative director of Givenchy, altered the structure of the house’s Fall 2010 couture showing in July 2010 from a massive runway spectacle to a presentation, it has been evident that the brand wanted to operate in a more personalized direction.

Couture creation is a difficult task, being time-consuming, scrupulous and expensive – and with diminishing clientele numbers, many have considered that the art of haute couture is becoming increasingly less significant on the fashion agenda. As pret-a-porter, commercialism and the more recent fad of ‘disposable clothing’ continue to take over in an industry struggling to acclimatize in this current economy, Givenchy’s decision is a sad but smart one – and maybe a pre-cursor of the brand’s future.

Haute Couture debuted in Paris in the mid-19th century, a time of opulence and privilege. An emerging designer in this new artistic technique at that time was Englishman Charles Frederick Worth. Worth created the very first fashion house and brought along a new philosophy of how clothes should be made. In Worth’s world, Haute Couture was for the aristocratic and elite women of society.

To be deemed an Haute Couture atelier, the design house must follow these guidelines: Design made-to-order garments for private clientele and include fittings, have an atelier in Paris that employs a minimum of fifteen full-time staff and each season present a...

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