Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Luxury, Authenticity & Fashion Design


Karl Lagerlfeld sketching for Chanel

How do we recognize the real thing in fashion design? In her book Paris, France, Gertrude Stein explained that "fashion is the real thing in abstraction." Fashion often takes real world inspiration and transforms it into abstracted material forms. Below Alexander McQueen 2008.


It is easy to recognize luxury fashion and we can also consider hand made clothing as authentic or genuine fashion expression. Below left Altuzarra and right PS I Made This which copies fashion designs and personalizes them. Using inspiration and copying is openly practiced in fashion as fashion is partly about imitation.


“Couture is my field of experimentation, and I like to take it in different directions. My idea about couture is not to cover something with embroidery like a Christmas tree — it’s how to manipulate the material until I find a truth," explained Jean-Charles Castlebajc. Haute Couture is considered the form of fashion with greatest authenticity as designers create the pieces largely by hand and close supervision.



Above right the first branded couture by Worth changed the taste for the best tailoring. Couture is officiated by Fédération française de la couture. There are now only 11 couture houses left. Below Christian Lacroix's final couture show in 2009.


Below spring couture collections and their showrooms photographed by Jacqueline Hassink.

Anne Valerie Hash, S 2009

Dior, S 2011

Givenchy, S 2011

Chanel, S 2011


Above a performance at the Chanel showroom. Couture clients are not only given special attention to clothing but many perks and services. Couture has now become a fashion showpiece reserved for the red carpet or other entertainment and political spotlights. Below the Vanity Fair article on the decline of couture can be viewed here and my article on the decline here.



Above the Facebook of fashion, Net-a-Porter, unites the global fashion consumers and has become a legitimizing provider or luxury ready-to-wear, certifying the new era of mass produced luxury. Below Net-a-Porter headquarters in London.


Below André Courrèges created extreme couture and ready-to-wear together, accepting mass production as part of his modern style.



Above YSL helped make ready-to-wear seem more chic. At a time when women were changing their fashion styles, he created Le Smoking and the Rive Gauche boutiques. Below he also licensed fragrance and cosmetics which amounted to nearly 85% of his profits.


Below Pilati carries on the sophisticated spirit in YSL ready-to-wear and created the Muse bag to add brand appeal.



Above now high end brands and ready-to-wear mix easily for consumers but the abundance decreases brand originality. Fashion is a credence good, meaning that brands provide consumers with trust in the product often over the design integrity. The copies and credence trust open consumers to counterfeits which have ethical and legal consequences.



Above now vintage couture is certified like art and heirlooms. Author Claire Shaeffer takes readers through a close analysis of a vintage Chanel suit. The details reveal the hand of Coco and are sought after by museums.


Below copies of Chanel suits with obvious faux details such as the extension of fabric past the sleeve at left and thin, unlined fabric on the suit at the right.


1 comment:

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