Op-Ed Paris Runway Shows

Haute Couture Spring 2011: High Fashion & High Fantasy

Dates: January 24 – 27, 2011

DALLAS, Dec 12, 2010 / FW/ — A very cold fall day with near freezing temperature found me curled up in bed with a new favorite fantasy novel series – Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

Though I have been a long fantasy novels fan for a very long time, it has never ceased to amaze me how fantasy authors always describe the lavish gowns and dresses of this genre’s high society as either made of lace and/or sporting embroidery.

And as if to make a point on how expensive those dresses are, the character in the novel who acts as a supply officer to the small crew of rebels trying to throw out an empire said that they could get more weapons if they control their spending on Vin’s wardrobe. Vin is the character whose job was to infiltrate the nobility and had to attend balls and parties to spy and to spread rumors.

Being a fashion writer who follows haute couture and a voracious reader who’s a fan of the sci-fi / fantasy genre, it was easy path for me to make the conclusion that no matter how far-fetched it may sound, high fashion and high fantasy are actually related.

Of course, high fantasy fans who have a tendency to be geek/nerd types might say that I must be out of my mind. Fashionistas are probably already raising their eyebrows with my conclusion.

Still, if we look back about 10 years ago, Miuccia Prada actually put the geek on the runway and Tom Ford who was the Creative Director of Gucci that time actually wooed the Silicon Valley denizens with both clothes and accessories. And, isn’t the current owner of Emanuel Ungaro a VC from Silicon Valley.

Haute couture purists can say that these labels are ready-to-wear and not haute couture. They are right. Yet, when was the last time that an haute couture label made an overture to anyone at all? The haute couture houses advertise their ready-to-wear labels but not their haute couture label.

Cases in point – Chanel, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Giorgio Armani might have ads and campaigns for prêt-a-porter but for their haute couture lines, a discreet mention about it when it is worn on the red carpet is all that is seen.

Times are changing though and we are moving forward. Haute couture is still considered the crème de la crème of fashion, yet less and less people are aware of it.

High fantasy readers who are well versed with the “high fashion of the nobility” in fantasy stories can easily be new haute couture followers and bring this fashion “genre” to a wider audience.

After all, as in Mistborn, Vin who was a commoner found an ally in Elend Venture, one of the most powerful nobles in the story.

[MARI DAVIS]

Runway Shows