(FEATURED IMAGE BY Azuaje)
With New York Fashion Week officially ending, most of the attention from attendees and online fashionistas are now gravitating towards a few memorable pieces: the “I gotta have those,” and the “who would wear that?!” And without fail, the most outrageous, seemingly unwearable clothes are almost always the ones that get passed around the most on the internet. With that, one question lingers in the minds of many. You can’t possibly wear that out in the street, so what’s the point of making it?
A few reasons. First, it’s important to know the difference between haute couture and Prêt-à-Porter.
The crazy, Effie Trinket-esque clothes fall under the haute couture category. “Haute couture” is defined as “the designing and making of high-quality fashionable clothes by leading fashion houses, especially to order,” or simply, “expensive, fashionable clothes.” They’re normally reserved for special occassions that call for some outrageousness and grandeur. Take the Video Music Awards (VMAs), for instance. The award show is notorious not just for its insane antics, but also for its wacky fashion. Clearly, celebrities attending shows like the VMAs will want an outfit just as eccentric and out of this world as the event they’re going to, and that’s when the haute couture fashion comes in. Without haute couture, how else would Nicki Minaj get this 2011 VMAs look? Certainly not by going to her local H&M. Another event that sees a lot of haute couture is the Met Gala.
Note, however, that haute couture isn’t always synonymous with crazy. Anything that a high-end fashion house creates by hand using only the best materials and the best workers, can be considered haute couture. For example, Jennifer Lawrence wearing Dior Haute Couture at the Oscars.
Prêt-à-Porter, on the other hand, means Ready to Wear, or simply RTW. These are the clothes that are designed for the masses, and are to be worn out and about in the streets by your average Joes and plain Janes. Unlike the pricey, handmade, made-to-order clothes involved in haute couture, RTW uses factories and mass production to ensure lower costs. The sizes are also standardized and are designed to fit most people.
Another reason why flamboyant outfits hit the runway often, is because a fashion show is exactly what its name suggests — a show. A show has to be entertaining, and having a bunch of models walk past you wearing clothes you can easily find in anyone’s closet isn’t going to entice much conversation. Entertainment is a must, and designers entertain the best way they can: through designing.
What’s the craziest outfit have you seen on the runway or online? Let me know!