Who exactly is buying couture?

14 July 2009


If there's one fashion mystery that's shrouded in more secrecy than what Martin Margiela really looks like, it's exactly who buys couture. Aside from couture queen Daphne Guinness, the world of these exquisite one-off pieces is relatively unknown – unless you're part of it. The usual presumption is that couture is for rich Arabian princesses who would scoff at wearing mere off-the-peg pieces, or the wives of high-flying billionaires who attend grand parties entertaining presidents and oil barons. Because you do, of course, have to have a few pretty pennies to own a couture piece – just think about all the hard work, sweat and tears that go into making a weighty 12lb gold-embellished Jean Paul Gaultier gown, or the 500 hours and three seamstresses that it took to create Chanel's finale look. We're sure the uber rich are still picking up couture like normal, but it seems a new wave of buyers are surfacing and investing in it too. 'It's the ultimate fantasy and the most indulgent fabrics. There will always be an audience for art,' new buyer Stacey Kimel told New York Magazine's The Cut, about her Chanel couture purchase. Treating these pieces as artwork makes sense – her purchases will be most likely to gain value as they age, and just think about how much she'll enjoy owning it! Although, if everyone started collecting couture, that would ruin the mysterious exclusivity, wouldn't it?


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