Haute couture – can it save the world?

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My mantra has always been “Saving the world – in style” and you don’t get more stylish than Haute couture.

Paris has just hosted another Couture Fashion Week where the cream of fashion is showcased for the unutterably rich and insanely fashionable to lust over.

Couture is about craftsmanship. The word “couture” is the french for “sewing”, “Seam” or “dressmaking” (so cakes that are called “couture” are linguistically incorrect – unless they are stitched) and “haute” means “high” – in Paris couture is the highest of the high, in fact The “Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture” is a very small strict club for fashion designers that it is almost impossible to become a member of.

The reason is simple, true couture has to adhere to the highest standards of craftsmanship, production methods and materials. A genuine couture garment is in itself a work of art. Almost impossible to replicate precisely due to the amount of hand work that has gone into making it and often taking weeks or even months to be made. An ideal option for a wedding dress, if you are looking for something really special.

Unfortunately there is a dark side of couture, which many followers seem to turn a blind eye to. It is well known that many of the couture houses are great friends with fur (companies). I once told a complaining fur business owner “how do you think the fox felt” at a very luxury event and got shot down immediately (thankfully not in the same way as the fox….), obviously there is a LOT of money to be made from animal skins, and although there are waves of fur being en vogue OR totally unacceptable, there are always going to be people who want it – despite the supermodels’ best efforts….

Here is the mini “Karlito” by Fendi in mink, silver fox and goat fur. Its a totally pointless, unattractive, strange little bag charm, which not only doesn’t have any real use, it is also ensuring the murder of innocent animals.

Quite strange, but then couture often is, even when its divinely beautiful and incredibly crafted.

A Jean Paul Gaultier creation
Of course at Atelier Tammam you can rest assured that we won’t be using any dead animals, in fact we are an entirely vegan company with the exception of our peace silks, which come from empty cocoons, ensuring the moth is allowed to fly away (rather than getting boiled alive like in conventional silk production) and occasionally some vintage silks, if we are given them. We have never used any furs or leathers in our collections and have spent years developing alternatives to traditional animal fibre materials for our creations. We work to haute couture standards, using traditional craftsmanship, many skilled hands (always fair trade, often in India or Nepal to support communities there as well as in our London atelier) and the most luxurious of materials  – all sustainably sourced.
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Proof that cruelty free couture can be glorious too.
Here follows a roundup of my favourite pieces from the July 2014 couture shows (images from Vogue.co.uk)…
Elie Saab – no one does bling quite like it.
Dior – I don’t think there is anything on earth as wonderful as a beautifully tailored coat, buy a long one to cover up the high street tat you are wearing underneath, obvs
Chanel – An obvious “Frozen” influence this season, all primary school children are now saving their pocket money for one of  Karl’s “Elsa” capes…
Schiaparelli – one of my favourite ever designers – reincarnated. Unfortunately most of the collection was made of fur, but I do love a good bird print on an emaciated model with a tuft of tulle on her bonce.
Vionnet – original queen of the bias cut, the reinvented label goes hippy on us this season with this ying yang inspired gown.
Gaultier – angelic punk
Valentino – Shiny!
Versace – Bit of leg, lot of sparkle, fancy pleating of liquid like cloth…
Fancy investing in some couture? If you want to save the world at the same time, why not demand your couturier considers their supply chain, manages waste and opts out of using fur, or chose a couture label, like Tammam, who does that already.

Yours in haute couture
Mme Tammam