Recently I watched the movie Valentino: The Last Emperor, read The History of Blogging by Jenney Cheever, and listened to the lecture What is Haute Couture? by Clarissa Nicosia. All of these have helped me greatly to further understand fashion and therefore allow me to go forth with greater confidence.
It is important that I educate myself on both the ‘famous game-changers’ and the up-and-coming designers. However, I wanted to begin my research with one of the staples of fashion, like Valentino. The documentary gives the full history from how the company got started through the designer’s final show on
December 4th, 2008. The documentary showed every detail of what it takes to put on a fashion show, from Valentino himself sketching each garment, to the many seamstresses putting together the designs, to the stage sets and music of the show, and finally the show itself. As I watched the movie, I did not sit in bewilderment, nor was I overwhelmed by the hustle-and-bustle of the industry, although I very well thought I would be. As the movie came to its close, I realized I already knew the world of fashion is stressful and ever-moving, but I was interested in these documentaries because I wanted to learn how to rise above it all. I watched how Valentino became Valentino and the people who worked under him (all one day hoping to take his place). I observed how these prominent people conducted themselves and how they worked to gain the position they had. I was inspired by their hard work, but most of all, I saw in these people someone I believe I can become.
Clarissa, my fashion merchandising teacher, made our class aware from day one that we must never misuse the term couture. I didn’t even know it was a word that could be misused, but how wrong I was. Not only does this word come with a detailed list of requirements, but it has an entire French committee devoted to making sure the word is not misused. Couture, which is short for haute (no, not pronounced hot, but ought) couture, is French for “high dressmaking” and represents a community of 17 designers. In order to be a couture designer, you must (1) Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings, (2) Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time, (3) Each season (i.e. twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear and, (4) Every stich must be stiched by hand. These requirements are enfored by French law! Ok, so I actually think the whole idea is silly and quite overhyped, although I couldnt overlook the fact that all of the 17 couture designers make the most beautiful pieces I had ever seen. So I decided my knowledge of couture (that was the first time in this whole document I spelled couture right on my first try) would help me, but was not something I wanted to strive for in my own fashion career.
The final piece of research I did was on how blogging began. To many, blogging may not seem very relevent to fashion, but it is said to be ‘where fashion is headed’. Fashion blogs are rewriting the rules of fashion and creating trends of the future. Because blogs are such a new thing to me, I wanted to know how they began so to better understand the direction they could take fashion. The article showed me how blogs have influenced politics, created controversy, and rewritten news headlines. I realized the importance of following the most popular fashion blogs and how staying up to date with them will better round my knowledge of the industry.