One of the differences between a fashion designer and a couturier is that a designer may not be able to turn their creation into workable realities on their own without the help of the pattern maker, or have sufficient knowledge of fabrics and their properties along with respective technical structuring methods and skills. These other experts may also advise the designer on occasion that what they have designed is not possible to achieve.
Couturiers have the advantage of being insiders to all of this knowledge and experience. Of course, the training to become a couturier is therefore more intense and takes longer to master the skills.
Couturiers also are also trained to visualize garments in three dimensions; how a garment looks from the front, back and in profile is also very important to a successful design. In this respect, they can also creatively conceal how and where a garment is closed rather than the standard front center, back center or side. Also how a particular element of design will be supported is so important.
Not quite sure about what is happening with the bodice on Sophie’s dress below, but it’s not a good look foremost because it doesn’t fit her properly. How would you press the creases out of the skirt below? Ah, but yes there is a way that the skirt could be constructed to have full access for pressing!
Everyone can picture a low cut back or low cut neckline seen at the Oscar’s award evening gown for instance, but honestly, no one should have to use sticky tape to keep that neckline or back line from revealing too much. (Let’s put a theatrical disclaimer in here, where anything goes for the stage – temporarily). Or using another example of a ballooned skirt, it must definitely be supported but also be accessible to be pressed after it has been cleaned or worn several times. How patterned fabric is matched, draped or joined invisibly is also in the realm of the couturier’s skills.
One might think that couturiers are so constrained by all the above technicalities that creative new ideas may be hampered or left unexplored to accomplish things that have not been done previously. Yes, that could happen, but experienced professional couturiers are inventors of methods, and are more potentially constrained by the lack of adventurous clients than by the lack of ideas. J…
Photos – Yohji Yamamoto designer