Already a lot of VIPS visited Hoedensalon CRZ and now wear a hat made by
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VIPS like Princess Irene from Holland, the Pointer Sisters, Sylvia
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Pfaff, Céline Du Caju
(Miss Belgian Beauty), Pieter Porter and many others.

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What exactly is Haute Couture?

Haute Couture, High Tailoring, is the epitome of fashion design and includes a select group of fashion houses in
Paris France. The media over recent years has applied the term to high end fashion in general but this is actually a
misnomer as genuine Haute Couture is a legally protected French name and can only legitimately be used by
those who are named on a list complied by a commission, Chambre Syndicale de Couture, within the French
Ministry of Industry.  

Presently there are eleven official permanent members on the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture list they
are: Adeline André, Anne Valérie Hash, Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Dominique Sirop, Franck
Sorbier, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maurizio Galante and Stéphane Rolland.

Additionally there are five members outside of France called correspondent members and they are: Elie Saab,
Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Maison Martin and Margiela.

Haute Couture is fabulously expensive and is one of the last bastions of pure unadulterated luxury, each creation
a quintessential masterpiece. Heavenly materials are draped, teased and tucked and tiny hand sewn stitches
apply iridescent pearls and gossamer, specially farmed, feathers. The elite, almost secret society, of
Haute Couture club members feel that these, once in a lifetime designs, are works of art in textile and each
designer a genius. They consider Haute Couture an art form and instead of an extravagance is really a wise
investment. Putting aside the art aspect of an investment in Haute Couture you can actually appreciate that, for
all its expense, it is in point of fact incredible value for money. These beautiful items can last generations and
they are so skillfully designed that they are equally fashionable decades later. The superb lustrous fabrics
maintain their quality and color and, even on close inspection, could have been made last week or last century.
Essentially if you choose a timeless little black Chanel dress or a Dior classic suit in your twenties they will still
have a wow factor when you are retired. Which is pretty amazing.

The wonderfully talented artisan ateliers that breathe life into the designers’ squiggles and swirls take an
average 150 hours to transform the one dimensional sketch into a beautiful and elegant creation fit to
adorn the shoulders of the princesses and queens of Europe and the uncrowned wealthy of the world.  There are
some diaphanous dresses with intricate delicate embroidery which can take over 1000 hours to complete. The
lucky ladies who wear these ethereal clothes say that wearing them is like slipping on a silken extra skin. The fine
and delicate fabrics fit so perfectly that the €20,000 to over six figure price for some dresses is worth every

However in the latter quarter of the twentieth century the Fashion Houses ran head long into a reality check.  
The old school devotees of Haute Couture who would never have countenanced a prêt-a-porter item on their
well groomed bodies were being replaced by a new generation which would match a Haute Couture jacket with a
pair of jeans.

The dedicated buyers of Haute Couture has lessoned considerably since the 1940’s and it is considered that there
are only approximately two hundred ladies in the entire world whom consistently by these wonderful collections.
Mostly buyers can only afford one or two items so the demand for these exquisite pieces has dropped.
Subsequently those employed at the ateliers has dwindled from over 46,000 just after the war to 4,500 in 2007.

Chanel is endeavoring to keep Haute Couture alive by purchasing ateliers which throw in the gossamer towel but
it is not just the ateliers which are leaving Haute Couture. Several of the Fashion Houses on the Chamber’s list
decided that it was just too costly to adhere to the inflexible rules as dictated by the French Ministry. They have
left the confines of this select world for the larger lucrative market of the prêt-a-porter ready to wear lines. It
has therefore become more of a labor of love for the remaining members to continue in the Haute Couture
tradition and, in an effort to offset the ever increasing over heads, they sensibly use the fashion show runway as
a platform to promote their more profitable accessories and perfumes.

Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s top designer, was inspired at the early age of eleven when he saw a collection by Dior in
his native Hamburg. His focus henceforth centered on design and his career found the fast track when he won
an award for a coat in the same Wool Boards competition as Yves St. Laurent won for a dress. An avid
photographer he often shoots his own press photos. He is known as Kaiser Karl to his staff and the color of his
signature leather fingerless gloves change with his creative flow. Red means serious business. He has said that
the best idea in his life he saw in his sleep just before he woke up. He has devoted admirers of his collections,
continuing the excellence of Coca Chanel, and the absolute necessity of owning that invaluable little black dress.

Many of the top designers have switched fashion houses several times during they careers and are therefore
comprehensively experienced in the professional expertise and preferences of competing establishments.

John Galliano, the shining star of Dior, previously worked at Givenchy and his creative designs adorn several of
the most beautiful and talented actresses of our age. His fresh and somewhat cavalier approach to design has
escalated him to the upper echelons of Haute Couture’s all time favorites. His parents were from Spain and
Gibraltar but he studied fashion in London and has been dubbed the first British designer to head a French
Couture House. With his roguish good looks and sublime creative intelligence he personifies a modern day Da
Vinci constantly challenging the establishment as he simultaneously shocks and woos the world.
Valentino. Oh Valentino, classic, ultra feminine and dreamy Couture. Valentino’s designs are visual rhapsodies. If
Galliano is Da Vinci then Valentino is Chopin. A flowing river of chiffon and silk his creations gently caress and
elevate the senses and if Helen and Hera stepped down from Olympus to shop the Rue du Faubourg Saint-
Honorè they would depart Parisian shores laden with Valentino.

Other familiar famous designers and fashion houses that used to be on the Haute Couture list are: Versace, Guy
Laroche, Jean Patou, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, Yves St. Laurent, Marcel Rochas, Lanvin, Loris Azzaro, Elsa
Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Julien Fournie, Donatella Versace, Elsa Schiaparelli, Emilio Pucci,
Chado Ralph Rucci, Erica Spitulski, Erik Tenorio, Fred Sethal, Hanae Mori, Louis Feraud, Mainbocher,
Marcel Rochas,  Pierre Balmain, Pierre Cardin, Torrente, Gai Mattiolo and Anna May

In addition to the permanent members listed above and the 5 correspondent members.
The board voted on, and extended to, an invitation to several addiitonal  companies to show in 2010
Adam Jones, Alexandre, Matthieu, Alexis Mabille, Atelier Gustavo Lins, Christophe Josse,  Felipe Oliveira Baptista,
Jean-Paul Knott, Josep Font, Josephus, Thimister, Lefranc.Ferrant, Maison Rabih, Kayrouz, Marc Le Bihan.

So what can the future hold for Haute Couture? It's a shrinking industry and you wonder how much longer the
present permanent members can maintain the tradition especially with Lacroix filing bankruptchy and the death
of the wonderful Christian Dior.  It would be an incredible shame for this historic industry to disappear and one
can only hope that realistic endeavors can save Haute Couture as a living entity and not one to be viewed as a
museum dodo sealed forever between sterile glass enclosures.
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