Last week was Haute Couture week in Paris, the most wonderful time of the year for fashionistas everywhere. Given our present economic situation, many mainstream media outlets have had the gall to question the wisdom of producing dresses that cost six figures. Because we are ahead of the game and entirely capable of independent thought, we figured we’d do the same.
Haute Couture pieces are entirely handcrafted by an ever-dwindling number of highly trained artisans. When we say handcrafted we mean literally every single stitch on a Haute Couture garment is made by hand with a needle and thread. Each creation can go through hundreds of hands and take hundreds of hours to complete. Those of you familiar with the labor theory of value may now be taking a step back to contemplate the price of such creations. Sure, a Haute Couture dress may cost roughly the same amount as a modestly sized studio apartment on the good side of Redfern, but when you consider the fact that it also took as many – if not more - specialists to create the dress, and as many - if not more – hours to build than the apartment, the similarity between the two seems a little more logical. And yes, maybe there are more people in need of modestly sized studio apartments on the good side of Redfern than there are those who need giant, opulent ball gowns. But you know what else is expensive- Making movies. And television shows. And (if you’re Kanye West) music.
All those fantastically diverting slices of escapism – just the sort of thing you need to distract you from eminent job loss – cost a lot of money to make. In our view, Christian Dior’s latest Haute Couture show, where gloriously printed under layers and linings were exposed through a clever series of flips, stitches and tucks, had all the theatricality of a brilliant movie, the wit of a well written prime-time comedy and a lyricism and grace that most modern musicians can only pretend to.
It’s ridiculous to complain about an industry that employs so many, and keeps so many traditions alive, at a time like this. People should be thankful for the boost a Haute Couture collection gives the (French) economy. Quite apart from which, we couldn’t afford the dresses before there was a recession, what’s so different now- Finally, spending $250,000 on a dress (or anything that’s not a modestly sized studio apartment on the good side of Redfern), maybe a luxury beyond all but the most magnificent means, but looking at pictures of a $250,000 dress is free. And, when it comes down to it, Haute Couture should be seen, if not bought.
VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT GUIDE
Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches - we’re talking the warm and moist kind that comes with cooties. Sadly, when you’ve passed the age of twelve, a hand-written poem is insufficient to really show a partner how much you want to have their babies. That said, many grown-up guys think that appropriate gifts for significant others include 1) plush animal toys with oversized eyes toting ‘I love you’ banners. 2) Those cheap pharmacy ‘pamper hamper’ things that have superfluous miniature bottles, and 3) any piece of jewellery rendered in rose gold. Cupid is sick of your stereotypical shit, and he will pop an arrow in your arse. After all (Cartier)diamonds are a girl’s best friend. This week, we bring you a gift guide in preparation for 14 February.
Q Pot rings instead of chocolates:
The joy of chocolate is transient, while the effects, bad skin and weight gain, are somewhat harder to neutralise. So, giving your girlfriend chocolate for Valentine’s is like writing ‘I hate you’ in your own urine on her front gate. Arsehole. For something that is just as sweet as its saccharine counterpart, try cute rings from Q Pot that are shaped like chocolates, ice creams, cakes and all kinds of mouth-watering treats. Just warn her not to swallow. Available from viaalley.com and Incu boutiques.
Stuffed shelves instead of stuffed toys
Unless you’re dating a twelve year-old, fluffy, doe eyed bears and bunnies are not an appropriate Valentine’s gift. Do you think your girlfriend enjoyed flicking away all the extra dust your last doll caught- Give the girl some intellectual credit and buy her books instead. We recommend the recently re-designed Penguin Classics and Great Ideas collections. At $10 a pop, you can buy her a bevy of books ranging from the naughty (rawr, Anais Nin erotica), to the romantic (Pride and Prejudice) to the intellectually intimidating (a little slice of Proust anyone-).
Shoes instead of flowers:
In fear of typecasting women, you really can’t go wrong. Actually, that’s a lie. Cork espadrilles are wrong, for example. Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu on the other hand, are not. Try to gauge her footwear taste, which will be easy as she probably has a framed photo of Christian Louboutin on her bedside as opposed to one of you. Rule of thumb: if the pair is worth more than a month’s rent, she’ll love them. Can’t afford to splash out on designer heels (you bloody cheapskate)- Go for expensive socks instead. $140 for a pair of patterned Wolford stay-ups may sound obscene, but the things she’ll do for you when she gets them will be too.
Lover instead of cheap lingerie:
You giving us lingerie is about us giving you ultimate cleavage, so you may as well make it nice quality. For the record, we would never buy $5 pink g-strings for ourselves and we don’t enjoy having our tits wedged closely together by something so plastic it could have come in a happy meal. Looking like a stripper is hardly our version of sexy, but whatever if you’re into venereal disease. As a substitute for slutty undergarments, give your leading lady some real love: Lover. The label’s use of sheer silk, chiffon, chambray and delicate lace epitomize romance, grace and femininity, plus with their latest collection Sacred Hearts College, she might even play schoolgirl for you. For stockists visit loverthelabel.com. As for underneath that pretty white blouse- Look at the selection of knickers below to see what a lady would wear.
TAKE A LOOK BOOK
Lingerie can be a high-risk valentine’s gift. Pick the wrong pair of panties, and you are more likely to get a slap in the face than a modelling session. The trick is to go classy, rather than arsey. When you’re picking underthings for your lady love, you want them to reflect your opinion of her. That’s why it’s always best to go for something gorgeously crafted, exceptionally tasteful and lovely to touch rather than something you might find on the ground on William St after a particularly busy weekend.
For thirty years Selmark have been giving men overseas an excellent option when it comes to girlfriend gifting, and now they’re affording local blokes the same opportunity. Selmark use high quality materials to make unmentionables so charming it feels like a shame to cover them up. Selmark’s pieces aren’t just pretty faces either; they are also constructed according to strict corsetry quality guidelines. Here are some of our favourite sets from their Winter ‘09 collection.