Couture is the most tightly-policed division of the fashion industry. Ever since British designer Charles Worth founded the schedule’s governing body, the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, in 1868, only a handful of brands have made the cut.
The book Haute-à-Porter,will be out June 30 from Lannoo, author Filep Motwary examines the relationship between the two seemingly distinct pillars of the fashion industry.
Haute-à-Porter takes into consideration specific pieces like the corset and the crinoline, examining their roles in couture and ready-made fashion. Tracing the history and influence of techniques like embellishment, draping, and creating volume, it explores more general themes, like the idea of a “classic” piece of clothing.
On exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute proves that a combination of fashion and technology can go hand in hand. Techniques like 3-D printing, digital printing, laser-cutting, ultrasonic welding and computer modeling can be just as intricate, painstaking and creative as the more traditional arts of embroidery and lacemaking. On display until August 14th, “Manus X Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology” explores how designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear.
There are hand-embroidered vintage gowns with futuristic, sculptural 3-D printed dresses. Another, sparkling sequined piece rests next to a dress digitally printed with a trompe l’oeil sequin pattern. The exhibit also has dresses made of drinking straws and silk capes hand-embroidered with ostrich feathers. The centerpiece of the show is a 2014 haute couture wedding dress by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel with a 20-foot train, its pattern hand-painted with gold metallic pigment, machine-printed with rhinestones and hand-embroidered with pearls and gemstones. Details of the embroidery are projected onto the domed ceiling above.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2016 dress, featuring a hand-appliquéd overlay of ivory silk-synthetic net, bonded with laser-cut silver metallic strips, hand-airbrushed with blue and gray pigment, hand-grommeted with copper metal