Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Secret World of Haute Couture



CBC's the Passionate Eye recently broadcasted a fascinating documentary about the highly elitist, overly decadent and amazingly artistic world of a dying fashion form - haute couture.

Haute Couture designs are the most exclusive in the world by the most famous designer labels, with incredibly intricate patterns, almost always completely hand sewn. For the average person, not only could we not afford these designs, but we wouldn't have a clue where to wear them. But we weren't invited into this exclusive club anyway.

Out of the hundreds of couture houses that once existed during the 50's, there are now barely a dozen left. Journalist Margy Kimmoth explores what is left of haute couture and the players still holding onto the dying market including Chanel, Dior, Valentino and Christian Lacroix.

The most fascinating parts of the documentary include interviews with incredibly wealthy heirs to family fortunes who visit couture houses for fittings and private dress shopping  with price tags up to $100,000. Most of these dresses are worn once. The film provides a very revealing look at haute couture and its secret existence that more than 95 per cent of the population has no understanding of and can only dream about.

I had a hard time finding a place to download the film in its entirety, but did find a short clip on YouTube. CBC will be airing the doc again on Thursday, December 24th.

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