Amidst Fashion Week frenzy, a few designers like John Galliano, Clare Waight Keller, Raf Simons and Kim Jones are using couture-grade duchess satin to create sumptuous, handcrafted men’s wear.
In his Spring 2019 men’s wear collection, Raf Simons used couture-grade duchess satin for wide, boxy New Wave-inflected coats in Kelly green and canary yellow, by incorporating what he had learned in his three and a half years as the creative director at Dior, exacting craftsmanship still pulsed through nearly every strand.
A few days later, John Galliano debuted what he called an “artisanal” men’s wear collection for Margiela: Electric blue vinyl pants and vampy décortiqué boots were juxtaposed against a Japonisme mackintosh coat. Extravagant feathers dotted collars and hemlines and a leather cape with rows of hand-cut incisions was made to look like the peck of a bird’s beak.
The details at Kim Jones’s first men’s wear collection at Dior were just as astonishing. Tiny handmade feather flowers that recalled Monsieur Dior’s 1950s porcelain dinner service had been pressed between the panels of vinyl coats; delicate embroidered bumblebees (a house motif) were sewn across pants and shirts, as if buzzing around a springtime garden.
“I’m just trying to exercise the craft of dressmaking,” Galliano explained on his house’s podcast. “We call it men’s, but you know, traditionally, I’ve used it for women’s.”
At Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller introduced four men’s wear looks at last year’s spring couture show along with exquisite full-length dresses inspired by Hubert de Givenchy’s earliest designs. It marked the first time that Givenchy would open its specialized ateliers to men’s wear.
BUT WHO BUYS these clothes?
Traditionally, couture is bought and worn by the very famous or the very wealthy.. In other words, beautiful women with lifestyles that demand a discreet sense of opulence. Couture is all about luxury and refinement.. Couture is couture not because the article of clothing it produces is more than the sum of its parts. In the end, a coat will always be a coat. But it is the product of a dialogue between designer and client, of the time and resources spent by the craftspeople at each of the different specialized ateliers to make the garment as precisely as possible.