Haute couture – the pinnacle of dressmaking – is a rarefied world of great expense and extravagance that is as necessary as it is indulgent, especially in these crazy times. Gordon Ng delves into the fantasy.
It’s an understatement to say that haute couture isn’t meant for most of us. The inbuilt exclusivity of those hand-sewn garments, at costs starting upwards of five digits, naturally precludes participation by purchase. Instead, haute couture opens up the eyes to imagination, ideas and fantasy.
Because it isn’t – strictly speaking – necessary, it fulfils the important role of providing the ideological inspiration that keeps creative flames alive. If ready-to-wear provides the response to a pragmatic need to get dressed, then couture responds to the human need to dream. This is especially significant at a time when the notions of high fashion are being rewritten to include four-figure T-shirts and running shoes; the pedestrian being arbitrarily elevated to luxury.
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