I’ve always been fascinated with Haute Couture and this book by Desiree Sadek and Guillaume De Laubier provides glimpses into the world’s most coveted designers’ ateliers.
“Haute couture’s label of excellence is hugely prestigious and this kind of savoire faire is still the pride of France, as it has been since the seventeenth century when the fashion, arts, architecture and music of Louis XIV’s court at Versailles were the envy of al Europe.
Ladies of high society traveled to Paris to buy their clothing and accessories at Le Grand Mogol, opened in 1770 by the intrepid milliner and dressmaker to Queen Marie Antoinette, Rose Bertin.”
“Clothes change our view of the world
and the world’s view of us.”
– Virginia Wolf
The book starts with the legendary Coco (Gabrielle) Chanel.
Chanel’s life was full of tragic moments, but as a true artist she was able to transform the difficulties into creative strengths.
It is said that legendary perfume Chanel 5 was created as an “ode” of sort to her perished lover: “Boy” Capel.
As was the “little black dress” in the color that was considered only for mourning, this simple dress caused a storm when Chanel presented it in the 1926.
“Throughout her life, Coco would find inspiration in the men she loved. Buttons and ganse cord tell o f her time with Balsan. Her affair with Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich gave Chanel the opportunity in 1920 to incorporate Russian fashion into her collections. Her love or the Duke of Westminster and their travels to Scotland would give rise to her Chanel tweed suits in 1928.”
The book takes you inside Chanel’s apartment where she lived for twenty years at the Hotel Ritz. You can see her collected treasures from the trips she took and how they inspired future collection created by Karl Lagerfeld, who took the reins as creative director after Coco’s passing away.
Notice the gorgeous Venetian mirror (in the picture above) and how it translated into the dress embroidery for the 2014-15 F/W collection (top left corner of the photo).
Coco collected lion sculptures and this particular lion (bottom left) was reproduces at sixty feet in length and placed within the Grand Palais for the 2010-1011 F/W runway show.
“Today, after more than one hundred years, Chanel reigns over haute couture, fragrances, beauty products, and jewelry. True to itself, forever innovative, it is the ambassador of elegance a la francaise.”
The book goes on to cover other geniuses of Haute Couture: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and many more, however I’ll save you the pleasure of reading about them on your own.
But you know what’s my biggest takeaway from this book? It’s that couture is a meticulous obsessive attention to the details! It takes countless hours to hand-create these exquisite details which become a work of art.
And that transformation from designer’s vision into the garment… That transformation is pure magic!
“Style is the garb of thought”