The Raf Simons Effect: The Rise Of Demi-Couture
This is a trend that’s been brewing since Raf Simons ingeniously teamed couture and sportswear for the Jil Sander SS11 show. Bar none, that collection stole the season and it’s profound ripple effect has managed to reach everyone from sportswear designers to Nicki Minaj in Oscar de la Renta, to the bloggers hanging out on street corners in elaborate floor-sweeping vintage couture dresses.
In London, land of eccentric street-wear, Demi-Couture is also having a bit of a moment via the likes of Mary Katrantzou. Remarkably, Katrantzou sold 18 units of her AW11/12 Jewel Tree dress. This was the dress that came complete with a padded crinoline peplum skirt and a lattice of crystals and appliqued enameled roses. It required not 1 but 4 studios to complete it, putting in more than 150 hours and, according to Vogue.com, made one seamstress cry.
With our economy going in to complete meltdown, it begs me to ask the question – what’s up with the return of Couture? Or the rise of Demi-Couture? I find myself struggling to make peace with the frivolities of my job and yet there are people out there buying gowns that easily go in to five figures. Who would have thought in times like these the lavish, elaborate, ornate look of Versace would make such a huge come-back? Or that the house of Versace would even return to the Couture runways in Paris this January?
I suppose if the world is falling apart, I’d rather look at a tale of ethereal lace, flowing chiffon, shiny satin, diaphanous silk and delicate velvet rather than a pair of ripped denim cut-offs…
On a side note – I do love the fact that ‘Couture’ originally referred to Lincolnshire Lad – Charles Frederick Worth’s work. Whether he was in Paris or not at the time is irrelevant – the focus being that he was an Englishman!