Haute couture has been going on for 150 years. However, it is still shrouded in secrecy and bogged down by ignorance. The facts most people know: it is outlandishly unwearable (debatable); astronomically expensive (no actual figures, but estimates average in the upper five figures); and no one much buys it. “Everything is done by hand, it’s impossible to estimate the hours… the final price,” says Marco Zanini, the designer behind the revived house of Schiaparelli, who shows his second haute couture collection today.
That’s a common, coy couture response. “Most people think that ‘couture’ means ‘expensive’,” says Daphne Guinness, a scion of the brewing dynasty who has worn couture for 30 years. “That’s just completely wrong. Yes, if you are buying something that is beaded from head to foot by Lesage, of course, it is expensive. But on the whole, it is no different to having a bespoke suit made on Savile Row.” Read more.