The designers ball, which drew to a close last Thursday, featured only seven participants out of the ten international fashion houses that carry the label. Nevertheless it is to be noted that Paris haute couture is opening out to young designersthrough the guest members procedure, and to High Jewellery, which now features in the official couture week diary. All the same, organising a fashion show remains very expensive, as does the production of each piece, with the cost capable of reaching millions of Euros, for sometimes little-known designers. To give one example, it costs between 10,000 and 15,000 Euros to hire a venue in Paris.
“I no longer want to consider couture as a stressful meeting for yet another collection, but rather as an opportunity to gain pleasure from creations. So this season, we are launching a second line, AVH (...), to enable us to have prices consistent with the market,” explains fashion designer Anne Valérie Hash, who unveiled her alternative line on the eve of the week dedicated to haute couture. AVH was one of a selection of creative labels that occupied Brongniart Palace for the first ever Paris Fashion Days event. In total, 4,000 visitors flocked to this event organised by Prêt à Porter Paris, in partnership with IMG Fashion UK.
While the major fashion houses do not break with catwalk-show tradition, they very much count on sales of accessory products such as make-up, perfume and glasses, which enable them to maintain their couture branch - an “increasingly fragile and precious activity that is becoming ever more expensive to maintain,” recognises luxury specialist Jean-Jacques Picart. Take the example of Chanel and ‘Rouge Coco’, its new lipstick range, which magnifies the Chanel brand image.
The Autumn - Winter 2010-11 order books are expected to indicate positive trends. During the July session, the upturn in demand was confirmed through internationalisation, particularly the increasing number of female buyers from emerging countries such as Russia, India and China. Whereas in the past, the keen interest in Paris haute couture originated mainly from the United States and the Middle East, “nowadays emerging countries represent major potential for couture,” specifies Picart.
As far as the LVMH group’s fashion and luxury consultant is concerned, the wealthiest individuals from these countries “are in search of recognition and a status, and haute couture is the ideal way, with jewellery, to rapidly demonstrate that they belong to an elitist and privileged category (...) And in our luxury lines of business, we are in need of these privileged individuals, who will create new work for our design workshops, embroiderers and plumassiers”.
From our correspondent in Paris
Photo: Chanel, fall 2010