At the recent Haute Couture shows in Paris it was business as usual.
“The Secret World of Haute Couture” (BBC4) presented and directed by Margy Kinmonth is being screened today at a film festival at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, Australia.
See Clips on this website.
What the critics said:
“…Margy Kinmonth’s excellent film goes behind the luxurious drapes that separate the sanctums of haute couture from the dowdy denizens of the real world. With outfits costing in the region of $100,000, it is not surprising that the customer base is small, and thin. Kinmonth visits Paris, New York and Los Angeles to meet the superstar designers and their adoring clientele. A fascinating view emerges: these are not mere clothes, darling, they are works of art…”
…”For the women who belong to the haute couture club, spending $100,000 on a dress they will wear only once or twice is quite normal, but to be a member you have to adhere to a strict set of unspoken rules. This is old school fashion: celebrities are a definite no-no. Margy Kinmonth’s cleverly pitched film manages to lift the normally tight-shut lid on haute couture: the customers, the designers and what has happened since its heyday after the war. Karl Lagerfeld (who reveals the complicated construction of a “feather” dress) and John Galliano, two of the “gods” of fashion, are interviewed but it is Kinmonth’s access to the “club members” that gives the best insight into the allure of haute couture. The women explain their extravagances and why they view the designers’ creations as art forms. One describes couture’s appeal as being “like a virus”…
The Daily Telegraph
…”What sort of woman spends $100,000 on a frock? Certainly not the worth who has any need to talk to journalists, hence the title of Margy Kinmonth’s fascinating doc. Doors remained resolutely shut until Kinmonth persuaded one of them to talk, and competition between them is so intense that the others also wanted attention. The result is an extraordinary glimpse into a club that numbers no more than 200. The clothes the client buys are rarely the pieces that appeared on the catwalk – the designer is always willing to sacrifice his ‘vision’ for whatever Ms Moneybags wants. Good fun and slyly revealing not least in the clip of Patti Smith with her tongue so far up a designer’s arse she is practically tickling his tonsils…”