Couture is Dead, Long Live Couture

Juliana Sissons Knitwear

Last night my friend Kate and I hit the V&A late– it was some kind of couture evening, so they had movies, wine, DJ’s and workshops. We went to a pattern cutting workshop taught by knitwear designer Juliana Sissons. She was a pattern cutter for Alexander McQueen. We learned how to make a pattern block and got started on making a corset pattern. She gave us handouts for making a 19th century corset and I hope to attempt making one.

She was a great teacher, but beyond that her knitwear designs were spectacular. This is one of her designs to the left. Here are her designs from London Fashion Week, 2006. Totally inspiring. It made me want to break out of the chunky knitting i’ve been doing and really dive into some lingerie inspired matrix-y sweaters.

We watched most of The Secret World of Haute Couture. The director’s persistence in gaining access to the highly guarded world of designers and their obscenely rich clients was admirable, and the film argued convincingly that this was a dying art, as even rich people are wearing pret-a-porter now. But the hideous women clients and the designers themselves seem to belong to such a rarefied and sychophantic world where starving was openly mentioned numerous times– it was hard to feel convinced by any of it. We found ourselves laughing openly at much of it. After watching countless rich ugly women in ugly clothes, we decided to go get some wine, listen to the DJs playing remixes of 80’s stuff like Bronski Beat and people watch. Maybe it’s time for couture to die, I thought while looking around at the street-wise fashion in the main hall. I love people watching at the V&A– it’s the one place in London where you can count on seeing people dressed in high spirits.

2 thoughts on “Couture is Dead, Long Live Couture

  1. We saw The Secret World of Haute Couture here a week or two ago on public TV. I agree with your assessment of it. The only part that spoke to me was the talk of clothes as art and the beauty of handmade.

    Micaela and I were just oohing and ahhing over a local corset makers wares last night.

  2. that sweater is totally amazing. and if i was tall and lean, i’d want some knit hot pants and thighhighs too, but it probably wouldn’t look so great on me.

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