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Can Couture Ever Get Hip And Modernized?

The problem with couture has existed pretty much since its inception. How much do we value fashion as an art, and at what point does couture’s importance cease if it remains not only elitist, but completely impractical? (Unless, of course, you’re keen on doing your grocery shopping in 40-pound ballgowns.) With an injured global economy and eco-conscious mentality trending, the past year or so has only served to emphasize how the fashion sector is becoming increasingly questionable in both morality and function.

And now, it appears that couture designers are dealing with the issue of modernity. For this reason, New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn found the majority of the Paris couture shows this year problematic. “Haute couture,” she writes, “what remains of it, is a little like a fragile ecosystem under siege by modern tastes and habits, and by couturiers who are stuck in the past.” While other fashion critics may beg to differ with Horyn’s subsequent point that, “Most women don’t pay attention to haute couture, and the reason isn’t the money — made-to-measure clothes have always been extremely costly — and it isn’t the lavishness or circuslike atmosphere of the shows,” it is indeed evident that when aesthetic influences are distinctly “old-fashioned” and asynchronous with what people are wearing today, that “houses don’t give people a reason to care and at least follow along … It might help, for a start, if designers acknowledged that they are living in the 21st century.”So, how can couture become modernized? Looks like designers need to start wearing the pants. Literally. Horyn commended Armani’s “singular focus on a sharp silhouette, especially super-thin pantsuits,” (two left pictures) and clearly favored Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel collection, which included a large number of shorts-and-jacket styles. Naturally, those were some pretty fancy pants coming down the runway, and true, you still might not do your grocery shopping in them. But wear to the office? Getting closer. [New York Times]

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