An almighty Stephane Rolland couture creation
How much did you spend on your last ‘essential’ item/retail therapy session/all out splurge for a special day? £100? £1000? Huh. Much as we consider ourselves ‘fans’ of the haute couture collections at Grazia Daily, the reality is, that we’re fans of looking at the pictures, yes, but don’t imagine ourselves ever stepping into one. Not when you consider that haute couture pieces START at £10k - £20k for something like A TOP! ! ! ! And there is no limit at the other end. For eveningwear or a wedding gown, think car/house/small island in the Pacific prices.
Anyhoo. . . our point is, if none of our acquaintances are buying it (although we’ve met Daphne Guinness a few times, we wouldn’t consider her a friend exactly, that would seem a bit presumptuous) then WHO the DEVIL IS? For a good while, couture was considered to be an expensive loss-leader, in business terms, images of which would increase sales of profitable bags, fragrance and ready to wear, but if this was so, how on earth would new couture houses be able to start up? Stéphane Rolland, Zuhair Murad are recent examples, and Giambattista Valli is the brand new brand on the scene this season.
The answer? No longer are the front rows populated with the wives and daughters of Greek shipping tycoons or Texan oil magnates. Oh no, the currency that keeps the seamstresses, embroiderers and feather-attachers in bread and butter in their Parisian ateliers, are Saudi and Qatari riyals, Chinese yuans and Indian rupees.
AND, they are young as well. The Telegraph spoke to couture clients from Qatar, Bobor al Thani, 21, and her sister, Maha, 23, who sat front row at Zuhair Murad, cited them as; ‘Typical of today's couture clients.’
"Zuhair did my wedding dress," says Maha.
"I can't wait to get married so he can do mine," says Bobor. "This was my first fashion show and it was breath-taking."’
And the most common misconception about middle or far Eastern fashionistas? That they are only interested in super blingy, ostentatious clothes.
'There will always be a customer who wants the best quality and can pay for it,' says a spokesperson for Rolland, who dressed Cheryl Cole on the Cannes red carpet earlier this year. 'It's a myth to say Arab or Russian customers are only interested in bling. They are fashion-savvy and they want interesting clothes.'
How else can you account for the fact that Riccardo Tisci and Giambattista Valli, with their exquisite, yet exquisitely tasteful pieces can make a viable business from this ancient art?
- Naomi Attwood