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Coût, Concept and Couture

All eyes were on the iconic Paris Fashion Week. Since 1973, the event’s initial concept consisted of presenting designers’ collections to elite fashion editors and potential buyers. The work to gain visibility and expedite an individual collections’ sale for the upcoming season was nothing short of pure genius as they presented extravagant versions of their clothing later to be modified and toned down for retail sales. While the fundamental essence of these events remains true to their fashion heritage, the style in which the brands present their sought-after couture has evolved.

Fashion provides influence over all elements of style, everything from coloration to textile design, printing techniques, materials and even beauty trends. Fashion also dictates the way the culture visualizes the humble line. This is one of the reasons why many countries have adopted the fashion week concept and why numerous brands are eagerly clambering at the opportunity to take part in the halo of influence it creates.

From the first fashion week until now, the largest driving factor setting them apart is the expectation of technological advancement and social media placements. We see brands swooping in with some of the most refined campaigns that command the engagement of both the audience as well as at home viewers – creating this perpetuating voice of what the designer has once sketched on paper, loosely templated, and finally, made into a production-ready piece all to have it yearned for by the masses. Holding influence on a captive audience over that 15 to 20-minute catwalk segment is a pivotal moment in a designer’s career where unless a true convergence of the cosmic forces aligns, then once the runway lights fade to black, they might as well leave them off!

The event’s interior has also changed. Pushing a slew of shapely silhouettes and utilizing muted bodies to serve as elevated merchandising tools to display designer accessories. You can clearly see it is a new era. Brands have also moved away from a traditional runway-only programming style and started to include large-format set instillations and graphic representations of the line’s latest campaigns to draw in the viewer from a whole new perspective. Many shows also include the brand’s history, telling the story of how a collection has been curated or the origin of its’ inspiration – quite charming.

Even in such an expansive marketplace, many brands, even those noted and established, are not able to participate due to the steep entry obstacle of cost. In fashion, it is all about a pay to play. To be a headliner, you need to bring your headlining budget. Over the past ten years, this created a new sub-culture of shows that provided the momentum for a new set of fashion week elite events to develop.

In walks ultra-luxury previews and capsule collections, capsuling off these condensed versions of a designer’s vision, allowing for a limited quantity, has proven to be ultra-successful. These chic, often limited editions of the originals released are tailored to reflect a more resounding style tone, something transcendent of the current fad while being functional yet reading commercial. The real heads turn, however, when brands announce a preview in conjunction with the adjoining programming. This has to be one of the smartest brand moves as these previews are always invite-only, and it leaves everyone scrambling for an invitation once the news is released.

Fall 2020 received one of its most anticipated previews coming from the brand Coût de la Libetré by founder and creative director Jeff Lubell. The Los Angeles based brand took to Paris Fashion week for their ultra-luxury preview, which was held at Le Hôtel de Crillon in the Place de la Concorde. The showing, which even at over 100 individual pieces was done in a way that still felt like a one to one design consultation, set against a backdrop of gilded 17th-century antiquities and hand-painted ceiling frescos. The line created by Jeff and his wife Carrie speaks to the ornate nature of the fashion business: craftsmanship. As the founder of True Religion Brand Jeans, you can see that he, unlike many others, did not compromise on any facet of the design or its quality. Lubell stated, “We wanted to showcase that when you take only the finest materials and treat them with the most refined techniques, you produce something that is uncompilable” The couple holds nothing back in sourcing the materials used in their new collection, which includes the most luxurious hand-dyed furs and exotic textiles, threads and trims. The finest cashmere from Italy, and innovative leathers and skins from France and Turkey, among other parts of Europe. Oah and the brand also features a curated denim collection in its finest form, which is no surprise. The brand draws you in with its 1970’s post-modern vibe, and their choice to preview has had fashion week fans, friends and foes shaking.


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