The past, the present, and the future. What was the couture? What is it now? What will it be in time? In the 1800s with Charles Frederick Worth, or some might say in the 1700s under the aegis of Madame Rose Bertin, the concept of the couture as an elevated form of apparel design and construction came into being. For well over a century and a half Couture has reigned as the axiom to which all others aspire. And that appellation is closely held by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris.
What did it mean in 1890? What did it mean in 1960? What does it mean now?
So, 2016. What does the Couture industry do now? Is it an experimental lab where ideas get a chance to burgeon? Yes. Is it a place where the ultimate of design and construction can come together? Yes. Is it a place where art for art's sake is still done? Yes. The really big question is how much relevance it has to the rest of our growing population of people. It was one thing when the couture served a significant section of the upper part of society. It was one thing when it was something other, away, and somehow not connected to us. But social media and changes in how we live have shifted the power center away from Paris, Tokyo, Buenos Aries, London, and Rome.
Society and technology are moving us away from this concept of ultimate design. If we cannot afford it, there are others whose work we can afford that are similarly innovative and interesting, though not as superlatively rendered. And in our disposable, "now and more is better" culture, perhaps the best, isn't actually good enough any more.
And I must ask, what does that say about us as a culture?