26 January 2010

Will Gucci launch a Couture line next?

Olivia Wilde

Just glancing at this picture of the ravishing Olivia Wilde in Gucci makes us emit involuntary sighs. *phew* So, when we heard the news this morning that Gucci designer Frida Giannini is reportedly planning to launch a couture collection we were pretty excited.

Couture (it’s couture week NOW in gay Pareee) is the most rarefied of all the levels of the fashion biz. The shows take place only in Paris, slightly ahead of the ready to wear collections in the other four cities, and operates on a different basis to the other collections. Only the most prestige journalists (like our own Paula Reed) and a handful of private clients are invited to perch on the gilt chairs and watch the parade of models in the hand-made, meticulously constructed dresses and suits.

The question of who is allowed to call themselves couture, is decided and regulated by the very stern sounding Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris, who protect the term by law with strict criteria. Only a label approved by the Chambre, creating made-to measure pieces for private clients may call themselves haute couture.

It’s always viewed as a very French affair, and if the day comes where couture is no longer viable and the ateliers (workshops) close then a whole industry will die –as the craftspeople like pattern cutters and embroiderers have learned their skills over many years, passed down be each generation will be lost.

However, it’s the Italians that have been adding to and bolstering the couture establishment this generation. Donatella Versace began her haute line Atelier Versace in 1999, and Armani followed in 2005 with Armani Privé. Now, If Gucci follow, it will be another boost for an industry that is often reported as being in decline, but seems to carry on and to evolve year on year.

Just imagine what delights Giannini would produce when given the free run of imagination that haute couture allows. Known for her pared down elegance in Gucci ready to wear, we are all aquiver thinking about how her look could translate to this elevated level. It’s been suggested that rather than join the Paris Couture schedule, she would produce the one-off pieces for private clients from a showroom, this would include red carpet outfits for celebrities. Bring it on, say Grazia Daily.


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