Couture: Bad!

I find myself in the middle of a studio upheaval right now, so I’m not really working on things that I want to be working on. I really need to get cracking, but life keeps intervening.

Having said that, It is also Spring Haute Couture week in Paris!

 Well, by the time this gets posted, it will have ended, but let’s play along anyway.

What is haute couture? It is a rather elite group of clothes that are produced in Paris, France (also Rome, but it’s not technically haute couture there) that are handmade using traditional techniques. All embroidery, beading and draping must be completed by hand (although I have seen a few details on lining that have been done by machine). These clothes are actually governed by the Chambre Syndical de Haute Couture a Paris (the governing body of couture) and must follow rigorous guidelines. The design house must have a set number of employees, show a set number of looks per season and must be accredited to truly be called haute couture. These clothes can sell for anywhere from twenty to five hundred thousand dollars (no, I’m not kidding) and are hand fitted and tailored to each client. The houses rarely ever make more than just a few of each of the looks that are shown on the runway because they want the clothes to be individual to the clients.

To entertain and annoy you, I’ve chose my personal top ten worst looks of the season. Subsequently, I’ll be posting my top favorite looks of the season in a couple of days.

So without further ado, here are my top ten, terrible, haute couture looks from the spring 2013 season! The commentary follows each image.

Armani Prive

Armani Privé . Oh dear. Armani Privé has become one of my favorite couture collections to follow. This season was OK, but overall, it felt a little flat. Of course, it doesn’t get much flatter than this collapsed, hot-air balloon number. It’s just goofy. The length is wrong, the pants are a misstep and that vest looks like it got caught in the ringer with some broken straight razors. The dippy hat, matching shoes (really?) and overgrown cranberry beads only compound this walking disaster.

Atelier Versace

Atelier Versace. It looks like someone just pinned a fur and upholstery bib to her torso, like the ugliest paper doll clothes ever cut from the back of a cereal box. There is really not that much you can say about a yellow striped box. I mean, it’s ugly, unflattering, weird, tacky…  hmmm, I guess you can say a lot.


Chanel. This is one of those dresses that looked great as a sketch, but in reality, it ends up making the wearer look rather like a deranged topiary. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some great topiary dress in my lifetime, but this is not one of them. The stripes are jarring and widening and turn a size 0 model into a stout, black and white barber pole.

(EDIT: My friend Cheryl made the barber pole reference the other day in a conversation and I forgot to credit her. Maybe she should write this blog!)

Charlie Le Mindu

Charlie Le Mindu. I’ve always known Le Mindu as a hair stylist and milliner. I guess this is the result of an all-night, drug induced sewing session. Yes, the model is sporting a beard. Yes, it looks like she is wearing a goat fur bath mat. No, I don’t know why this dress was designed, sewn, fitted and sent out on a runway.  It’s like Patti LaBelle and Cruella DeVille had a baby.


Christian Dior. Put me in a shapeless lump of fabric with flowers and a tin foil lining please! … said no one ever. His second season in and Raf Simons continually proves that he is incapable of pushing the house forward. I know Galliano was a showman and it is hard to fill those shoes, but these clothes are not cutting it. The quality of the Dior atelier is exquisite, but everything that Simons has produced has looked rushed, cheap and ugly. Also, s’up with the bumblebee shoes?

Maurizio Galante, Couture, Paris, Spring Summer, 2013

Galante. As my friend Cheryl said “It looks like she barely made it out of the shredder alive!” Those pants are killing me because I know how much work went into them. It astonishes me that couture houses are willing to put that much time, money and effort into something that hideous. The fact that her blouse is leaking fabric doesn’t help at all.

Jantaminiau, Menswear, Paris, Fall Winter, 2013

Jan Taminiau. Apparently, Omar the tent maker now does lingerie. I don’t understand the rationale behind a look like this. It is just plain, old unflattering. And the fact that he paired it with blue briefs is even more baffling. At least give the illusion of the body with flesh tone underwear. I know women who are eight months preggers that wouldn’t walk out of the house in something this loose and wonky. And I really don’t know any non-pregnant woman who would get caught dead in this thing.

(EDIT: My friend Amber said of this outfit: “…Omar’s tent dress. I would totally rock that around the house, smoking out of a long cigarette holder, and referring to myself as “the fancy lady of the house”. So I guess I do know a woman who would be caught dead in this. Well, a fancy woman anyway.)

Maison Margiela

Maison Martin Margiela. This look reminds me of those exquisite corpse drawings from the 70’s – only, you know, it’s crap. On the head – part of a Tiffany lamp. On the chest – a dead parrot that tragically lost its life in a wood chipper. On the legs – Belle Watley’s bloomers.  On the feet – Barbarella’s roller skates… without the wheels.

On Aura Tout Vu, Haute Couture, Paris, Spring Summer, 2013

On Aura Tout Vu. The funny thing is, this is not the first time a beaded scarab beetle has been sent out on an haute couture runway. This is, however, the first time it’s made me want to douse it with a can of Raid. From the hip widening, iridescent catsuit to the lumpy bugs on her chest, this look is a total disaster. The white cape seems like an afterthought and whoever put her in those shoes needs to be fired.


Sergeenko.  Stupid hat? CHECK. Bizarre stick accessory? CHECK. Unflattering, raffia vest that looks like a thatched hut roof from Tahiti? CHECK. The world’s most hip-widening skirt that should have been edited out of the final line-up because no woman on the planet would want to wear it? THAT’S A BIG OLD CHECK!

Well, that’s enough sharing for today. In a day or so, look out for my top ten favorite looks list.



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