Haute Couture Alive, Kicking

Though many fear its demise, it still has a few tricks up its sleeve
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2009 3:00 PM CDT
A model wears a creation by Italian designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli as part of their Valentino's show during the Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2009-10 fashion collection July 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
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(Newser) – The death knell is ringing once again for haute couture, as it does every decade or so—but don’t count it out yet, writes Amy Fine Collins in Vanity Fair. Though the house of Lacroix recently filed for bankruptcy and Yves Saint Laurent is gone, haute couture has survived much worse. “So long as the house of Chanel exists, couture exists,” Karl Lagerfeld says.

New names, like Alexandre Matthieu, are bursting onto the scene—and “haute couture is still the best way for a designer to get noticed,” says a Paris insider. It’s been redefined over the past decade to appeal to a larger audience, but small houses still dress private clients—including many from emerging countries. “The new couture clients are beautiful, young,” Lagerfeld says. “We have Russians, Indians, Chinese, South Americans. Women from the Gulf countries don’t even come to Paris—the première flies the collections to them.”