Despite the weather in Cork remaining cold, wet and windy, the world of fashion has launched fully forward into its Spring/Summer couture collections. Fashion shows have already begun to appear in Paris, and will eventually spread across the globe. Autumn/Winter 2017 menswear collections have already graced the catwalks, but it is the couture side of fashion that has now taken its place in the spotlight.
What is so special about couture fashion? Personally, I believe fashion in general to be an art form in its own right and that it should be recognised as such – even more so when it comes to the couture collections brought to us from all major fashion houses.
What is it? Couture is often art inspired; an exaggeration of trends which is scarcely seen in one’s everyday life. Iris Van Herpen’s and Guo Pei’s Spring Summer Couture 2017 collections are great examples of this; familiar trends of minimalism, frills and colour schemes remain apparent, yet these couture collections offer more textures, greater volume but also a variety and array of prints, often covering an entire piece of clothing, whereas they may be seen in other areas of fashion as more of a motif.
Couture vastly differs from the aptly titled ‘ready to wear’ collections most fashion houses offer. Also worth remembering is that the ready to wear pieces are sometimes quite overpowering in their own way. Gucci’s current ready to wear collection is an example of such, where the bright colours and patterns may be too extravagant for everyday wear. Arguments regarding couture’s status as clothing have long caused controversy, many of them following a similar critique of art in general – that of; ‘I could have done that’. One of the few places couture is seen outside the catwalk is at award ceremonies, where the extraordinary is quite ordinary.
I think that couture is not only an art form, but is utilising a greater influence from art, where the passions and feelings of the designer can be expressed in much greater detail than through conventional collections. It is also inspired from art. The practically of couture clothing (in terms of durability, comfort and wearability) is not taken into as much consideration as the visual impact the piece has as it appears on the runway. It is not just clothing: it is a piece of artwork. For this impact, how the garment moves with the model is also of great importance.
Fashion is not only resigned to what we wear on a daily basis, nor is it only an expression of identity. Fashion within couture is truly an art form of its own. The level of detail and work that goes into making one-of-a-kind pieces is incredible. It is difficult to look at a couture gown or piece of craftsmanship and not believe it to be art.