The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Couture of the Old Days

Reading an article this morning reminds me back to the days of the old couture, when if you weren’t invited to the couture show, you not only couldn’t see the clothes, you didn’t even know what the styles were….then press and such started going….Elsa Klench with Style on Saturday mornings on CNN and the internet changed all that, but this maison is going back to the old days!!!


Very Interesting!

The thing I like about this is that (and I’m sure this is the reason they are doing this), it makes the clothes un-copiable which means they are even more exclusive.  As the press invaded (and was invited to invade) the couture fashion runway, so came the knockoffs, and with the knockoffs came the fast/cheap fashion industry.  They have now so plagiarized and copied fashion to death, that going back to keeping certain style private and exclusive has become non-existent of not impossible.


What’s interesting about this article is that the maison of Yves St. Laurent is going back to creating garments that can not be copied.  Now eventually they will be, but not until they are worn by the customer.  This is the same as what happened with Princess Diana’s wedding gown and Kate Middleton’s wedding gown (as well as Pippa’s bridesmaids gown).  Both were state secrets until they were worn, and then they were relentlessly copied.

Here’s what’s important and what I like about this so much.  If couture maisons are going back to confidential and highly guarded styles until the customer wears them, then that nixes out the FCF industry from copying them (for a while, but not forever).  However the time with which the FCF consumer is used to waiting for these styles to hit the store is now going to slow down, what does that do to the FCF business model of getting the fashion garment to the consumer as fast as possible?….it delays it.


How does this affect we sewists?   I watch and keep track of a lot of fashion and because I do, I can tell where fashion is going.  I’ve seen it move from the pretty silhouette of the Dior “The Look” to the androgyny of the hippie, to the pretty of the 80’s opulence to the sexless of the ugly Grunge…..guess where we’re going now – against Grunge – pretty, yes, but what kind of pretty – a more feminine look – a look against unfinished edges, torn and ill-fitting (either too big or too small) clothing.    This is the appeal and movement toward Normcore and Minimalism (which is highly misunderstood as this movement is more toward a closet that contains ONLY useful garments that are worn, not garments to just take up space and never be worn or worn infrequently).  Here’s the look of Normcore that shows not so much a move toward something as a move against a trend.

The whole idea of moving against a trend is as much what Grunge pioneered more than anything.  So here’s the situation:  the 1980’s come along with a huge boom in the economy and styles reflected that.  Beading and opulence everywhere – everything was beaded.


So Grunge came along as a movement more against the 1980’s as a movement toward anything.

Fashion which had formerly been all about looking pretty and to show off your best advantage, now became ugly.  Ugly was the new key word.

So here we are again in a time of change and as Grunge was a movement against or away from the 80’s, Normcore and Minimalism is that movement against Grunge.  If anything you can hardly describe the components of Normcore. It is mostly defined as being non-fashion fashion.  It’s hard to take apart and say this or that part make up the trend – it’s a whole look or feel more than anything else.


OK – so back to we sewists.  What the new “mystery” more couture-that-couture fashions are doing is preventing the FCF from copying them, but just the slightest monitor of fashion can tell you where it’s going – classic.  If that isn’t a dead giveaway, my moto has always been when you don’t know what to wear (or make) – go classic;  it never EVER fails.

So what’s classic?  It’s timeless, it doesn’t age, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be plain.  Looking at styles in the past that are good today, is a great source of classic, and sometimes that can be very outlandish in style, but it’s still classic.


  1. FYI–the article link in the first paragraph does not work. I remember reading (in the WSJ?) that several couture houses and designers are emphasing the unique handwork and craftswork incorporated into the the garments. The amount of handwork is increased to differentiate their creations for copies.

  2. Oh thanks Rose – I took it out – it was just an article about how those old couture shows were private and you could hardly know what was being shown.

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