The argument against haute couture is much like the argument against fashionistas dressing up for fashion week - which in turn is much like the argument that as people, in general, can not practically own a giant Jenny Saville portrait or Anish Kapoor sculpture or Yayoi Kusama spotted existence within the confines of their budgets, houses and generally conservative lifestyles; then Saville, Kapoor & Kusama are respectively pointless and therefore all modern art is a con and therefore should not exist.
Let’s start with that last argument, which is of course, completely ridiculous. Art exists for arts sake. It has pretty much nothing to do with the fact that your average proletariat Joe Bloggs in accounts from Croydon has a Jack Vetriano picture up in the hallway because that is what is normal and therefore that is what is right and therefore that is what should be. Art purposefully exists outside of reality. That is what elevates it to the divine. That is what makes it art.
In the same vein, I’m a big supporter of fashionistas that DO dress up in their most ridiculous, peacocky, loud, attention grabbing, media whoring, gilded, pap-hungry garbs for fashion week (who me? never *smirk*). The argument that ‘you don’t wear that in real life so why wear it at fashion week’ is totally invalid on one major count – fashion week is not real life. Nor does it pretend to be. And most importantly, nor would it ever want to be. Fashion week is purposefully as far removed from real life as it’s possible to be. That is what elevates it to the divine. That is what makes it fashion.
As such, those that ridicule haute couture as conceptual rubbish that has no bearings on reality, I stand up to. Couture exists to challenge. To take clothing out of the constrictions of real life. To emancipate society from the confines of it’s own minds. And to sartorially demonstrate progress. Progress is not progress unless it is out of reach – it needs to be fantastical in order to be forward thinking. It can not – and by definition – should not be static. That is what elevates it to the divine. That is what makes it haute couture.
And so, without further a do, here is the “SS13 Style Cupid Haute Couture Top of the Pops”. You all know the drill by now. Every couture collection from the season. Whittled down to ONE dress. The best dress in that collection (in my totally biased view). Then all lined up together in a row. Pondered over for at least 8 minutes - acutually more like 2 minutes. And then all shot at with a paint ball gun. A pink one. From worst to best. For just one to the crowned couture queen of the season. Cue the music (Haim, Don’t Save Me this season – as it you had to ask!)…
No 33: Soooooooo coming in at last place, hot off the heels of a HIDEOUS collaboration with H&M is Maison Martin Margiela. Usual face cover up. Fine. But this look is basically a long rectangle - totally shapeless. Verging very nearly towards being amazingly origami - but somehow failing completely. Last place of the season. Shame on you.
No 32: Radrad Hourani. I mean yeah fine. Do that whole "i'm so minimal... blah blah blah... i'm just doing black and white... blah blah blah..." - and i kinda like it, a lot, as ready to wear - but don't show in the couture shows ffs.
No 31: this is just f-ugly Didit Hediprasetyo. That billowing arm looks like a mistake. The orange is unflattering. And flip-flops - fo sho?? Puuuurrr-leeeaaasseeeee.
No 30: oh god where to start Maurizio Galante. The cut outs don't work. The boob tube is almost like a Texan cowgirl - eh? And those trousers - incredible IF they actually had some shape. This is a mess and not of the RuPaul 'hot' variety.
No 29: Atelier Versace would be last if i'm honest. It was like an a-level textiles student obsessed with Star Trek making a collection out of gym hula-hoops and the shiniest material they could find. The only reason this isn't last is because i could never put a photo of the god-like Lindsey Wixon in last place. Good venue mind - NEED that flooring in my life.
No 28: You know the J-Lo Get Right video? That middle bit where she does a dance in a weird tweed couture corset? I think if that video was remade today this is what she'd wear. I kinda like it, but where's the fantasy Bouchra Jarrar?
No 27: if i was ever appointed to put on a high fashion Nativity play, this is what i'd put the inn keepers wife in. It's beautifully minimal Adeline Andre - but a little 'peasant' for me.
No 26: ok we're warming up with Ulyana Sergeenko.The colour is beautiful - the best kind of costume drama green. But there's something about that neck-line that doesn't quite work. Maybe it needs a collar - a spiked bondage one or something. And those Madonna 'old lady hands trying to look younger' gloves are gross. Bleugh!
No 25: Gustavolins has done well - and the first of the all black looks in this seasons countdown - without doubt THE trend of the season. I LOVE the top half - but can't help but feel a little 'meh' at the lower half situation. A Zac Posen style Morticia Adams fishtail would have been better.
No 24: There's so much about this Julien Fournie that works. The material. The shape. That flutter. But then there's the random way the colour is all black at the - erm - well fanny. It looks weird. I can see Mel B in it mind you looking fucking amazoid.
No 23: Chanel Haute Couture. I can't... even... just... NO! Apart from this one maybe... but even this is more no than yes. Oh god i hate it all *cries*
No 22: ok this is where we start getting to the good stuff Georges Hobeika little take on LV a few seasons ago might not be the most original, but it's certainly cutesy - the kinda thing Hailee Steinfeld would where to the Oscars. You know me and a rising star...
No 21: d'you remember when that trend for crumpled shirts came in? Well, given that most of my clothes are always crumpled, i certainly do. It's here to stay. In fact never went away. And thankfully Franck Sorbier agrees
No 20: oceanic, aquatic and fantastical. Yes On Aura Tout Vu - just yes!
No 19: don't look at those sandles, you'll puke... i said don't! But that 50's style Christophe Josse dress is just wonderfully youthful and playful. Makes me wanna do the jive bunny. You know, in a high fashion kinda way.
No 18: in general, this Jean Paul Gaultier collection is quite possibly the worst fashion i have ever seen from anyone in the world ever. It really is quite - erm - well non-fashion. Themed very losely on India, the results are a weird half-sari-half-gown combo in a myriad of colours. BUT this look is quite simply astonishing. The way the stripes drape the body. The 'swish' of the monochrome drop. It almost makes up for the rest of the collection...
No 17: the Giambatista Valli below is quite a departure for him from the uuuussssssssjjjjj (that's The Very Simon G for 'usual') and there's something almost primal about it. Love! Especially on a vacant looking blonde.
No 16: this is so stupidly modern it's basically a scuplture. Giorgio Armani Prive have done well. Fucking well. The colour. The variety of trouser, dress and waist coat all scultptured together. The way it's constructed in ridged perfection. Adore!
No 15: tiering is a must for couture. All the better when it's combined with a colour phase as in this Alexis Mabille look. It's kinda Miss Havisham and verging on gothic. But so wonderfully chic!
No 14: more of that ruffled sleeve i always love in a cute peachy colour from Eric Tibusch. Add to that a massive silver belt and shimmering skirt and what's not to want?
No 13: I mean if you were getting married this year you'd HAVE to wear this spider webby Yiqing Yin construction. What is it saying exactly? It's like woven unicorn hair crossed with the rings of Saturn. And who doesn't want to look like that combo?
No 12: This is the challenge that couture should give. Iris Van Herpen massive applause. One day, when we live on Mars, this is the kinda of thing we'll wear just to like the gym and stuff. And those shoes!
No 11: last years winner drops a few places this year. I didn't love his gowns this season - BUT Stephane Rolland more than made up for it with this incredible body ruffle. Like a mutated tulip gone fucking crazy and then made fashion. I just love it. And that models fierce scowl is fricking brilliant - in all it's "move bitch" glory.
No 10: I mean it's two dresses really. But done the Georges Chakra way. The black sheer section is like black sparkling fireworks accenting the white underneath. This girl quite literally is on fire.
No 9: HIS second collection for Christian Dior. And it was flawless. Not one single flaw. And he even managed to create an entire new silhouette with the low waisted billow. It's like wearing the feeling of floating (i'd guess)
No 8: i'm feeling for black this season. This Elie Saab is just so wonderfully grown up for him - not the usual pastel larks. It gives this collection a gravity that his whimsical designs haven't had before - and the finished results is just striking.
No 7: Oh Dany Atrache. The colour. The way it just drops straight down like a pillar. The tie around the middle. The neck. The shining tie over. This is the sex!
No 6: although this Serkan Cura look reminds me a little of the intestine pig skin that gets used to wrap sausages in, it's fucking fierce! Espcially the crown of thorns which extends out into a full on waist-coat!
No 5: i don't even need to say anything. JUST LOOK AT IT! IT'S LIKE A GOLDEN FASHION SEA ALIEN!! Well done Oscar Carvallo.
No 4: The colour of this gown and the way it totally covers the body is just heavenly. Rami Al Ali gets it. Cover it up. All of it. In pleats. And make it pop. Then add some silver. Yes!
No 3: because there's a choker wearing slut who wants to get out her thigh Alexander Vauthier style in all of us!
No 2: I will never not be thinking about the Miley Cyrus gown that Zuhair Murad designed for the Oscars years ago. This regal look below is more conservative than his past looks - but in true Murad fashion, still shouts out in true gilded fashion when you look at the detail. J'adore!
No 1: soooooo to the winner of the season - it simply has to be Valentino! This gown is breath-taking. The way it folds. The way it's demure yet still stunning. The intricacy of the tapestry. The leaf like shape of those folds. The light translucent shimmer. The tulle. It's elegant. Chic. Classic. Yet completely contemporary. This gown is everything. Literally everything!
So there you have it. The couture review done for another season. And the winning Valentino is without a shadow of a doubt what i'll be wearing to the Oscars this year. Actually who am i kidding, it's no where near slutty enough for me - Alexander Vauthier and that sky high thigh slag-slit all the way! Woo!