Focus on the Haute Couture industry, evolution or delay?
Fashion brands and Maisons have recently presented their Haute Couture collection for the upcoming seasons. As we were amazed by the beauty, creativity and knowledge of Haute Couture, we were a bit disappointed. In fact, we wanted to discuss it in an article and to reflect on the evolution of this part of the fashion industry.
Haute Couture is by principle, a high quality and standard part of the fashion industry. It is a sort of scarce and limited part of the industry. Unless you are rich and you have to attend a special event, Haute Couture is not accessible or a thing to think about in a normal and daily life.
In another article we wrote about Haute Couture, we explained why this part of the industry is closed and limited. By definition Haute Couture is high-quality creations, hand made and most of the time, a single item. It is not ready to wear or adapted to every occasion. Its rarity and the quality of the fabric used, complexity of the designs and the craftsmanship behind each piece makes it really expensive. For fashion brands it is a way to prove what they are really capable of. It is a sort of image show and brands reputation proof.
But recently, Haute Couture has been missing a point. INCLUSIVITY? What happened to humans in fashion? Where are they? Haute Couture Week and shows were “all about traditional elitism” as Angelo Flaccavento wrote in a BOF article. Unfortunately, we have to agree with that.
As we said in the Recap of the Haute Couture Week, only a few brands tried to be inclusive and keep going on this opening to the real human world. Despite efforts and references, catwalks were mostly white, thin, tall girls walking in past references of haute couture brands.
We are still looking after more inclusivity, more cosmopolitan shows. But most of all, where have Men been? They seem to have disappeared after the Menswear fashion week a few days ago.
Only a few brands have shown items and pieces for men in their private collections and none of the brands have represented men as they really are in terms of body type and inclusivity codes.
Balenciaga have shown men and quite a lot during the Haute Couture collection presentation.
Jean Paul Gaultier
Jean Paul Gaultier as well, laying with gender, clothes and humour. Making the move a bit stronger and bringing in more effort to the evolution of the industry.
Valentino, during their spectacular fashion show in Rome, presented a couture collection with many items for men. Also, they were one of the very few brands trying to show different women’s body types. Also, they were probably the one with the most cultural diversity in terms of choice of the models.
Valentino has made a big effort and is one of the examples of the evolution and trail to improvement of fashion brands to a more inclusive and representative industry. Models of different body types, races, ages but still the same narrative for men, sadly.
Haute Couture industry is not only these brands.
On the other hand, more traditional brands and older ones have presented a collection of references to the past. On the paper it does not look bad or seem a bad idea, however, these references in the designs and collections were linked to the physical representation of the collection. As a result, models were a good reminder of the old days of fashion, and not inclusive at all. We lost the essence of modernity, and we are still looking for it.
Once again, these shows and fashion events have proven the lack of inclusivity and diversity in the industry. The luxury industry and fashion world are still far behind and need to evolve quickly to always get customers’ interest. Men are still under-represented in the industry and not taken seriously even though the market shares are growing. On the other hand, women are still struggling to be a minimum represented in the industry, despite some effort put in place.
Brands trying to be always inclusive and down to earth show biggest creative interest and get a positive image from the public. Just look at Valentino, Balenciaga or Jacquemus. These brands try to be more inclusive and represent diversity over their shows and collections. As a result, they are loved and admired. They also go viral and are taken into example. If we have a look at the latest fashion shows and events, they are the ones who differentiate themselves and get the most publicity.
For example Valentino got a standing ovation after their Haute Couture show in Rome. People congratulated the show and collection but also it was thanks to the diversity of the models which gave the show another dimension. Even Anna Wintour stood up to applause.
Inclusivity and diversity are not just a tool or a trend for brands to be successful. It affects every part of the fashion industry and is a representation of today’s society and people’s values. Brands need to change and evolve if they want to keep going and remain successful. Being taken into consideration, feeling understood and listening, is crucial for customers. It is not only a luxury thing but more of a society consciousness and that is one of the reasons why brands and the whole industry have to work on that.
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