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the hauteur of couture

Didier_grumbach_2 >> The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article on the state of haute couture today - and it was not the stock "couture is dying/dead" article. 

Well, I take it back, there was a little bit of that, but the writer, Christina Binkley, took an angle that hasn't been covered over and over before.  She interviewed Didier Grumbach, the president of the Fédération Française de la Couture, who had some decidedly interesting things to say. 

I, for one, was surprised at how readily M. Grumbach shrugged and admitted that at lot of what is shown during the couture shows is ready-to-wear - considering the strict rules of couture that his organization exists to enforce (all clothes are made by hand from a pattern customized to the buyer in a Parisian atelier employing at least 20 seamstresses). 

But the best part of the article? 

Today, designers Nicolas Ghesquière of Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, and Vanessa Seward of Azzaro all have the haute couture "savoir faire," Mr. Grumbach said, wishing they would apply to join the federation. "We are snobbish -- they must ask," he noted.

There's that French fashion hauteur I know and love. Too bad Azzaro's chief executive said she has no interest in doing couture and Nicolas recently echoed the same sentiment.

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