This week will see the world’s most historic fashion brands showcase their couture collections in Paris; the industry’s most ornate, fantastical and expensive gowns.
This is where designers come to demonstrate the craftsmanship behind their work. It’s fashion at its most extravagant, where there are no commercial restrictions. It’s not uncommon for a dress to cost more money than your average house, with prices soaring into the hundreds of thousands.
It’s a niche market, but one that shows no sign of dwindling. The eponymous designer behind Tel Aviv-based label Galia Lahav – a relative newcomer to the couture schedule, having joined in 2017 – believes that couture is more important now than it ever was.
“Yes there are things that are more trendy and obviously more wearable, but the quality of the fabric, the quality of technique – those things are important to the industry and they need to be preserved,” she told us.
“They are the foundation of fashion; they’re the roots,” she added. “If you start to neglect the high quality of fabric, of embroidery, of sewing, then you lose your foundation and you become like everyone else.”
Former teacher Lahav established her brand 30 years ago, specialising in embroidery. A decade later, she enlisted her then student, Sharon Sever, as her design partner.
Sever explains that their clients come from all over the world, and span all ages.
“The US is doing very well for us, as is London,” he tells us. “We make a lot of couture bridal gowns too – I made one for a young girl recently that cost £150,000. In the US, bridal couture is a booming area.”
“Japan is also a growing market,” adds Lahav. “But we’re expanding; this is the start of our couture chapter. There’s also a steady flow of young women from Dubai who are buying our clothes.”
The level of workmanship is impressive; a single gown can take between 200 and 500 hours to make. One of the spring/summer 2017 dresses was decorated with original embroidery from the 17th century.
“It’s what makes us dream,” says Sever. “It’s the same reason people go to the movies. We’re in the dream industry.”
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK