“Worth Doucet, Poiret, Vionnet, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Grès, Dior, Balenciaga, Courrèges, Cardin, Saint Laurent, Lacroix, Gaultier, Alaïa….These geniuses could boast how haute couture’s precision was an architectural tool that the standardized prêt-à-porter industry could not offer. For several weeks – or even months – at cutting tables in secluded room, the designer and his studio, the basting stitchers and the skilled sewers known as petites mains, worked in unison, laboring together on the final touches of a mousseline gown. The machine could never replace the complex, knowing, touch of the human hand.” – Olivier Saillard.
The complex history of Paris Haute Couture through iconic designers and the role of clients are examined in this brilliant coffee table book. Rich illustrations and visuals of garments by the likes of Madame Grès, Yves Saint Laurent and Viktor&Rold accompany profound analytical texts by curator and writer Olivier Saillard.
Ever since Charles Frederick Worth dressed the Empress Eugénie in the 1860s, launching a “golden century” for dressmaking, Parisian Haute Couture has been a source of endless admiration and discussion. Its sense of exclusivity, details, and meticulous craftsmanship propelled it to the forefront of the fashion industry. This chronological study explores the role of the designer and the extraordinary craftsmanship behind the finished garments, the place of haute couture in Parisian culture, and its influence in the cultural conversation worldwide. Various incarnations of Chanel’s timeless quilted handbag, Fath’s charmingly patterned silk scarves, Schiaparelli’s trompe l’oeil dresses, Yohji Yamamoto’s innovations, and Poiret’s elegant perfume bottles demonstrate that haute couture encompasses far more than just clothing.