Bouchra Jarrar, Couture, AW11, Paris.
Often people think of couture as being the more extreme end of fashion, a designers playground where limitless budgets fund highly skilled artisans to create fantasy fashion. The line between the presentation of couture and ready to wear has become increasingly blurred over the years as ready-to-wear shows can often be incredibly dramatic and salon style couture shows can actually be very understated.
The fact is that the main difference between couture and ready-to-wear is not at all about the presentations and catwalk shows, the difference is not always visible in the way that either collection is presented to the public. The distinction between the two exists behind the scenes in the production of the clothes and the clients who wear them.
On first glance the collection by Bouchra Jarrar for AW11 could be mistaken for a straight ready to wear collection. The pieces look effortless enough, no frou frou ball gowns or obviously labour intensive beading. We can get tailoring shapes of the rack from high street stores, so what makes these pieces couture?
The secret to this understated couture is in the construction. If we were able to open up the inside of these jackets we would find evidence of incredible tailoring workmanship, carefully moulded shoulder pads and hand sewn canvas. Buttonholes may be sewn by hand, pockets would be carefully sewn using tailoring methods and the pieces would hold their shape for many many years.
These pieces represent a more humble sense of luxury. The pieces are not about being flashy and attention grabbing, they are much more about a shared appreciation of quality between the team of crafts people who work on them, and the clientele who will pay for these pieces to be created.
Images from Vogue.com»