Saturday, January 30, 2021



As with any exclusive club whether professional or social, the federation is one of the toughest organizations to join or be accepted to especially if you are not French. This season the “chambre” has decided to lower the bar and its standards, requirements and qualifications to now be scraping the floor. With the inclusion of brands like Area and collections like AZ Factory, Charles de Vilmorin, Julie de Libran, this organization has unknowingly equates the master works of Chanel, Christian Dior, jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Versace, Valentino, Armani, and many more who far outshine these new additions and yet far more talented and established brands, especially from the USA are rejected. Do you suppose that the Federation is feeling the heat for being racially biased or far too discriminatory as well as well realizing their requirements are far too stringent and are making up for that by  offering memberships to rank amateurs who happen to have made a dress or are able to sew.

The question is if you were a member of let’s say, the Everglades Club and they suddenly decided to relax their standards and admit the trash collector, might you be insulted, if not outraged? The same might go for the Yale and Harvard clubs should they suddenly decide to accept a high school dropout.  Do not think that our precious CFDA which as been renamed by the illustriously over rated Tom Ford is any different or even was any different under the leadership of madame Von Furstenberg. These kinds of exceptions and lowering of standards diminish these organizations' importance as well as agitate their own and might even insult or infuriate existing members. 

I, for one, am appalled and severely disappointed as a fashion observer and I’, quite sure this has spurred great animus among those whose inclusion has been turned down in the past. Below you will find the so-called charter and mission statement of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute couture and you tell me that they have defiled themselves by adding those who are far less deserving that the the rejected candidates.  

SHAME ON YOU… it makes me think that money talks even with in an association like this and that saddens me greatly since fashion is in such a precarious and nondirectional point in its life during these less than perfect times.


The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode brings together fashion brands that foster creation and international development. It seeks to promote French fashion culture, where Haute Couture and creation have a major impact by combining traditional know how and contemporary technology at all times. It contributes to bolstering Paris in its role as worldwide fashion capital.

The Federation numbers some one hundred members, amongst whom feature the most emblematic brands on the global stage. It comprises three Chambres Syndicales or central bodies (Haute Couture, Women’s Fashion, Men’s Fashion).

Haute Couture is a French exception and as the name of the Federation indicates, it lies at the heart of fashion’s ecosystem. Tremendously modern, it is a permanent gateway between a tradition for excellence in know-how and contemporaneity in creation embodying today manufacturing techniques that are at the cutting edge of innovation. The Haute Couture collections are presented twice a year, in January and in July.

Due to its extraordinary nature, it has been granted a special status. Since 2010, its official calendar has hosted the Finest Jewellery Houses that are affiliated to the Federation. This initiative allows for a synchronicity of presentations, but also enables the history of two sectors with exceptional know-how and both in a state of endless reinvention to be played out in sequence.

The origins of Haute Couture are attributed to Charles Frederick Worth who in 1858 founded the first true Couture House at number 7, rue de la Paix in Paris. Before that Rose Bertin, Marie-Antoinette’s « Fashion Minister » had foreshadowed it, being the first to start freeing up the female body, all the while adorning her creations with embroidery, lace and rose petals.

Following a decision taken on January 23rd 1945, the  designation « Haute Couture » became a  legally registered designation of origin.

Only those houses and companies that are approved each year by a dedicated commission run by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture and held under the aegis of the Ministry for Industry may become eligible for it.

Its primary field of interest being handmade work accomplished within these Houses’ workshops, a laboratory for ideas and techniques, a space where creativity can flourish freely : this is Haute Couture, whose international renown has always remained true to itself and has contributed to making Paris fashion capital of the world.

Haute Couture stands out by the uniqueness of original models created each year, and the customization of these models which are then crafted to fit the client’s measurements.

Both Haute Couture and contemporary Finest Jewellery at times heckle and upset academic forms in order to move along with the times. They offer extra sensoriality and fantasy that are undeniable in addition to remaining true to the utmost modernity by being nourished by the latest technology.

Fashion is today an endless field of expression and creativity but also an industry composing a major pole of french economy. During Paris fashion Week®, the capital becomes one of the most important financial hub.

Members - Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Area couture spring 2021 ....and no I'm not kidding

 Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk are the 2  ..and I use this  term  very  loosely  “designers”  responsible  for this collection of  stripper  clothes/design school projects. What an embarrassment for the Chambre Syndicale to put this brand ...and I use that term loosely… as well on the couture calendar.

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I’m not sure what drug these designers are on that prompts this statement: “I’m quite confident in saying that if you looked at a Parisienne or a Roman Alta Moda brand, I feel like we’re operating on the same level of craft,” says Panszczyk, from Area’s Canal Street atelier.  …but I can assure you it is mind altering!

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As for the reviewer, she should hide her head in shame for even writing a review that contains this verbiage or maybe I should just ask for proof and verification to substantiate the statement.

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After that, words fail me, I am embarrassed for them and for Vogue and my condolences to anyone who legitimately shows on the couture calendar to be lumped together as so-called equals to this pile!

Afterthoughts … in retrospect Haute Couture Spring 2021

I’ve been at this for over 10 years now and have been involved in fashion for a half of a century and I believe I’ve learned a few things and a lot of it came rushing back to me after this season’s presentation of Haute Couture and whatever season we seem to be showing simultaneously so I thought I’d share them and see what you have to say ….

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Haute couture used to be the mad scientist’s laboratory of fashion. For so many years it foreshadowed what was to come in a designer’s ready to wear collection or it was just a way of translating fantasy into reality. This season, in particular, given the most straining of circumstances, we have seen everything from fantasy to horror to who cares.  What complicates matters on the grand scale is that what’s left of the fashion media rarely speaks of the clothes themselves and instead writes  about venue, models, inspirations and all sorts of hidden esoteric reasons. We are offered some sort of presentation that you are supposed to intuit by seeing the clothes. None of these extraneous aspects mean squat if the clothes are not both beautiful and that is a highly subjective opinion…. As the saying goes… beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

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The reality of the fashion show cycle is to inspire, aspire and create a mood for a season that will draw people out to actually purchase the clothes and hopefully in due time wear them and have places to wear them to. Remember fashion is a business of selling clothes unless you have a laundry list of contiguous products that render the clothes unimportant to the bottom line. Couture this season went far afield and opted for more shock and awe rather than exquisite clothes that make women salivate and covet. In other words, all this peripheral crap that appears in reviews doesn’t mean a damn. It is about clothes …plain and simple no matter what the price, no matter what the designer.

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In these challenging times, one might think that off the wall styling would take a back seat to the clothes but instead it takes a starring role much to the detriment of the already unappealing creations. No one speaks to that aspect as some of these looks have been done 2,3 or maybe 4 times by other designers in fashion’s history because no one has the knowledge of the past because in my opinion, it means that so many of these collections are derivative or so highly referenced as to make them look like nothing more than rehashed ideas of years  gone by. Might I mention that so many reviewers can only reference the last 20 minutes and certainly not the last 20 or 30 years.

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Those of us enmeshed in fashion know that there is a vast difference in haute couture and RTW and yet these days so much of what we see could carry the same distinction…. At least to the naked eye as haute couture is a product of “invisible” ateliers and petits mains with little machine work involved but nowadays it is hard to decipher the difference and that might include price as well.

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Do I think couture is dead … absolutely not, but I think that couture needs to be repositioned back to where it once was as clothes for women of means and supposedly women of the most refined and finest of taste and lest I forget the largest wallets…the shock and awe should be emanating from clothes and artistry and not from tricky styling, models, venues or  background information and inspiration. It should be coming from what you see gliding down a runway via some sort of presentation.

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 No names but here are some collections that have been lauded for no particular reasons other than for everything except the clothes! And very few for the actual creations themselves!  

PS. As for these “feature films” that accompany many of the collections they serve no purpose other than supposedly to see the collection in motion which so many don’t even try to do and instead spin some sort of tale that has nothing to do with the collection!      

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Armani Privé haute couture spring 2021

 “The times we are living in do force us to stay at home and have a very limited social life, but the quest for beauty is eternal,” Armani wrote. “That is what this collection is all about.”

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For me this was like seeing 2 different collections and yet all so seamlessly cohesively woven together. The dichotomy was in the palette from neutrals to pastels to jewel tones and all with the most amazing quality being the clothes had a fragility and delicacy that made them appear almost ethereal and weightless.

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The embroideries beyond one’s imagination, the flourishes of the horse hair “collars”, the exquisite jeweling of a velvet jacket, the embellished tulles that appeared almost floating and all of them made and fitted to perfection.

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It is hard to think that at one time, decades ago, Armani only made dresses that looked like uniforms rather than real people dresses but look at what this man has accomplished in terms of expanding his vocabulary and enlarging the DNA of his brand.

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 The variations from the structured to the almost negligee like fragility, the extraordinary femininity and the variety of silhouettes … jackets of every conceivable nature and clothes that women will aspire to and covet which is exactly what haute couture is supposed to do…lust! I urge you to watch the film and look at the slides anywhere you can find them as these images do not do justice to the extreme beauty of this collection.