Twice a year, a distinguished group of designers and fashion houses hand-selected as certified couturiers by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (the governing body for the fashion industry in France) showcase their vision of what is arguably the purest form and expression of fashion design: haute couture.
Working closely with ateliers stacked with artisans who specialize in embellishments, feather work, pleating, beading, embroidery, and more, these talented creators devise collections that go on to influence ready-to-wear, aspiring designers, and fashion aficionados around the globe.
The draw for many collectors and devoted fans continues to be the time and attention dedicated to handcraft these creations, as well as the immense privilege of donning a look that’s truly one of a kind.
In an episode of Netflix’s 7 Days Out, a series that follows behind-the-scenes action for seven days leading up to a major event, viewers are given fly-on-the-wall access to the making of Chanel’s Spring 2018 Haute Couture collection. From the incredible mise-en-scène of the show at the Grand Palais to the charming artisans in its ateliers who spend hundreds of hours on a single look and, of course, the editing process of Chanel’s late creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, the scale of creativity, collaboration, and production documented in the episode is unprecedented.
I still remember the tears that gathered in my eyes the first time I witnessed one of S/ magazine’s haute couture shoots in Paris, and the chills that went up my spine when I attended my first Chanel haute couture show—which was quite possibly the best conceivable entry into a world I had revered since I was a young woman. The Fall 2016 Haute Couture collection paid homage to the artisans behind the seams—with the entire Rue Cambon couture staff taking centre stage at the Grand Palais, which was transformed into a massive Chanel atelier. These two experiences validated the path I had chosen and filled me with the motivation and ammunition to push things forward creatively.
It gives me great pride that S/ magazine continues to stand out globally for creating a unique space to spotlight this level of craftsmanship. In this issue, we went beyond what we have accomplished in previous shoots and photographed 22 exceptional looks from the Spring 2019 haute couture collections.
As you come to examine all the fine details we captured in “It Takes Two”—whether it’s the dizzying decadence of John Galliano’s gender-fluid looks at Maison Margiela, or Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Pierrot-themed collection for Dior—I hope you share my enthusiasm and regard for the craft, and join me in appreciating these creations as wearable works of art.