The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Chanel, Couture 2012

Couture means seam literally in French, and Haute Couture means high seam, or very high-end clothing that is exclusively made for the client.  The shows are in Paris, and there are only a handful of designers who still show Haute Couture, as most show in Ready-to-Wear, but it is the penultimate in fashion, and when the designers show their new season in Haute Couture, especially well know ones like Karl Lagerfeld, everyone takes note.

This year is something very special.  For a gal who likes to keep things sane and street-wise rather than orbiting Mars, this show was fabulous.  Lagerfeld talks of vintage, but his vintage is not the old kind that is kitschy.  His kind is the vintage of tomorrow – the stuff that lasts through the ages.  Could we call that classic?

I like this idea a lot.  This has always my metier as I have preferred adding to my wardrobe, my clients’ and my students’ wardrobes with investment type clothing – something that can be used again and again. This has always been where the most savings was.

I remember going to college in the mid-60’s and Mother taking me to Neiman Marcus where she bought be the most beautiful camel suit.  Other than it being a drop-dead, right-on color for me, I thought it was entirely extravagant – spending (in today’s value) $1,200 on one outfit for going to college, was incredibly foolish I thought and really a waste of money.  But she insisted.

This is the memory of that wonderful camel suit - I probably need to make me another one just like it!

Here’s the thing.  I wore that all through college (with hems up and down), and then through the years of work outside of college, again with hems going up and down, which eventually I had to retire the skirt (too many hem lines were showing and the cleaners could bring it back).  So then I continued to wear the jacket into 5 years of marriage….that’s almost 15 years….even in today’s worth – that’s $1,200 over 15 years makes it about $80/year.  And I wore that outfit at least 25 times a year – which makes it about $3.20/wearing.  Talk about a bargain.  And because it was so well made and so classic in a fine fabric, I wore it each time feeling very special.

Today when we are told and encouraged to value clothes by the number of washings they will survive without piling, pulling, springing or loosing their shape, or falling apart, there is no greater value than a classic-built wardrobe.

This sounds suspiciously like what Karl Lagerfeld is talking about – maybe not so much the vintage of tomorrow, but the classic of today and tomorrow, and if that’s what he means, in my mind he nailed it.

This is one of my favorite looks from this collection.  Three-quarter sleeves, nice length for the jacket, skirt is classic style (a little short for a classic look), a classic tie around the neck;  the fabric is couture but classically couture, the trim is couture, but totally (as Karl would say) vintage of tomorrow look!

The Chanel Couture 2012 can be seen on a number of sites, the site is of course an excellent view but I also like where there are also other shows from other designers (one of my favorite sites for scooping designers).  Check out the collection cause it has some great ideas and remember couture really is the cat’s meow (click here if you don’t believe me)!



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