Credited with being the father of Haute Couture, Charles Frederick Worth was an Englishman who set up shop in Paris in 1858, eventually closing in 1956 just shy of its centenary. Many of the things we take for granted these days were formulated by Worth. He is credited as the first designer to put labels onto the clothing he manufactured. He can also be credited with creating the fashion parade being the first to show his creations four times a year in parades. He completely revolutionized the business of dressmaking and formed the basis of what is the industry today.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
It is very significant that the name of the House of Worth’s premier perfume was “Je Reviens”, literally meaning “I Shall Return”.
With fashion week in Paris a couple of months ago, there was a resounding buzz of anticipation of the return of Worth under the helm of creative director Giovanni Bedin. Lying dormant and mothballed for decades and with basically a paired down perfume business, keeping the name active, is this the ultimate comeback for the house which invented Haute Couture? The house is even returning to their original address in Paris on the Fauborg St Honore.
Bedin originally trained with Thierry Mugler and Lagerfeld, presented a tiny collection (by today’s standards) of just 8 ensembles! Bedin presented two looks, both with tiny waists, stiff collars and hourglass shapes that evoke high Victorian femininity. All created out of fine silk brocades intricately woven with embroidery and embellished with gravity defying ruffles. Bedin says he “wanted to emphasize the essential—which, to Monsieur Worth, was always l’élégance.”
The show being very intimate and elegant gave the audience a chance to get up close and personal with the designs and a chance to appreciate the fabulous detail, which is not possible at a full blown runway show. The tailoring was magnificent recalling the Victorian shapes that would have been prevalent in Worth’s heyday.
Whether this is in tune with the modern woman of today who might not want to feel so constricted we shall have to wait and see. A prêt – a –porter line is rumored to be launched in November, so it will be interesting to see how this high couture look is going to be translated into ready to wear.