Why Celebrities Wearing Couture Isn't Always a Good Thing (According to Karl Lagerfeld)

While you might think celebrities can, simply by being celebrities, get their hands on whatever they want to wear, it's comforting to know that it's not always the case--especially with couture. In an interesting piece in yesterday's New York Times, Cathy Horyn looks back on the latest couture collections and tries to determine what separates couture from ready to wear, what makes it special--questions that seemed especially difficult to answer this season with the debut of Raf Simons' streamlined and modern "New New Look" for Dior. Horyn spoke to Karl Lagerfeld, who explained that couture is "not a red-carpet opportunity...
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While you might think celebrities can, simply by being celebrities, get their hands on whatever they want to wear, it's comforting to know that it's not always the case--especially with couture. In an interesting piece in yesterday's New York Times, Cathy Horyn looks back on the latest couture collections and tries to determine what separates couture from ready to wear, what makes it special--questions that seemed especially difficult to answer this season with the debut of Raf Simons' streamlined and modern "New New Look" for Dior. Horyn spoke to Karl Lagerfeld, who explained that couture is "not a red-carpet opportunity...
Emma Stone in Chanel Couture Photo: Getty

Emma Stone in Chanel Couture Photo: Getty

While you might think celebrities can, simply by being celebrities, get their hands on whatever they want to wear, it's comforting to know that it's not always the case--especially with couture.

In an interesting piece in yesterday's New York Times, Cathy Horyn looks back on the latest couture collections and tries to determine what separates couture from ready to wear, what makes it special--questions that seemed especially difficult to answer this season with the debut of Raf Simons' streamlined and modern "New New Look" for Dior.

Horyn spoke to Karl Lagerfeld, who explained that couture is "not a red-carpet opportunity...[w]e’ve had clients cancel an order after seeing their dress on a celebrity." We guess there are a few exceptions though, like Emma Stone who's worn Chanel couture on several occasions. Still, it's true: we rarely see celebrities wearing couture.

While seeing a dress on a celebrity may inspire many consumers to go out and make a purchase, it makes sense that couture shoppers wouldn't necessarily want to pay that exorbitant price tag for something they just saw Joan Rivers making fun of on Fashion Police--especially when whichever Kardashian or Twilight star who wore it likely got it on loan or for free.

Exclusivity was one of a few factors Horyn pointed out that separate couture from ready to wear (could the inclusion of a bride at the end be one?). With Raf Simons, it was his skill; with Donatella Versace it was handcrafted details and fantasy; though with Valentino's Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli and Jean Paul Gaultier, she couldn't see what made it couture. She concludes that couture is about "a sensibility." One that, we guess, not everyone deserves to have.