GIVENCHY has decided to suspend its haute couture line and will not show during the Paris schedule in January 2013. The brand released a statement to WWD stating that it “does not rule out couture presentations in the future” and will continue making and displaying its couture looks internally to private clients and celebrities. Givenchy will continue to fund its couture atelier even though there is no word on when public showing will ever be orchestrated again.
Givenchy’s decision may come as a surprise to some, but for others, this was not unforeseen. Since Riccardo Tisci, the creative director of Givenchy, altered the structure of the house’s Fall 2010 couture showing in July 2010 from a massive runway spectacle to a presentation, it has been evident that the brand wanted to operate in a more personalized direction.
Couture creation is a difficult task, ...view middle of the document...
An emerging designer in this new artistic technique at that time was Englishman Charles Frederick Worth. Worth created the very first fashion house and brought along a new philosophy of how clothes should be made. In Worth’s world, Haute Couture was for the aristocratic and elite women of society.
To be deemed an Haute Couture atelier, the design house must follow these guidelines: Design made-to-order garments for private clientele and include fittings, have an atelier in Paris that employs a minimum of fifteen full-time staff and each season present a collection to the Paris press, of at least thirty five looks, featuring daytime and evening wear.
The strict guidelines make each garment very special, with pieces often hand-sewn and with intricate detail, including beading and embellishments. The creation of an Haute Couture garment can take many months to complete.
In 1868, Worth and his sons established The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to create a body in charge of ratifying fashion houses that qualified to design Haute Couture. By 1946, there were 106 officially recognised Haute Couture houses. By 1952, that number diminished to 60. Now with Givenchy Couture in hiatus, only 12 houses remain today.
Today, the relevance of Haute Couture, which is a seen as an exclusive status symbol, is questionable. Customers who can afford Haute Couture are ageing. And for the younger generation of deep-pocketed women who can in-theory afford Haute Couture, it is just not practical. The new breed of high fashion clienteles opts not to buy couture because ready-to-wear products are more attractive and financially sensible. The presence of an Haute Couture line has been mostly implemented as a marketing strategy to enhance a label’s credibility. In reality, the majority of revenues earned by luxury houses comes on ready-to-wear products, fragrances, accessories, and diffusion lines.
Couture has become an anachronism, and unfortunately, Givenchy is probably not the last member of the Syndicale to see the end of its Haute Couture line.