Saturday, June 14, 2008

Moving Fashion Forward: Exclusive Interview with YouTube user J'adore Haute Couture

'Fashion is art.'

There is a user on YouTube; his profile name is J'adore Haute Couture. His first name is Tomáš, and Tomáš is a student in Slovakia. Out of his passion for fashion, Tomáš has posted over 1,400 fashion videos on YouTube. I reached out to Tomáš by e-mail, and he agreed to give this blog an exclusive interview about his interest in fashion design.

LF: What inspires you about fashion and haute couture?

J'adore Haute Couture: Everything. Fashion is art. Haute Couture is even beyond art. Even the fact that Haute Couture clothes are made of superb materials, and they are products of the highest and the finest quality marked by the most excellent work in the world speaks for itself. Sewing machines are prohibited, so every lining is sewn by hand, every stitch is done by hand. And dresses take from 200 to 1000 hours of manual sewing. The price of a couture item ranges from $20,000 to $80,000 -- and is often more -- but it is very impolite to ask how much the item costs, because that shows that one can not afford it.

Chambre Syndicale makes very strict rules to classify Haute Couture houses. Couture houses must produce 50 new and original outfits of day and evening wear every season, they must make 2 collections every year. And they must employ at least twenty full-time workers in one atelier or workshop.

If one is interested in buying an Haute Couture dress, she has to make an appointment that is followed by about 3 fittings. Fittings are very elegant and exclusive affairs. For example at Valentino, expensive perfume is sprayed into the air a few minutes before the client arrives, so she does not have to breathe the same air as the masses. Only about 3000 women in the world can afford Haute Couture clothes, and less than 1,000 women buy them regularly. For example, Chanel sells around 150 outfits and Christian Dior sells about 20 bridal gowns a year. Haute Couture is a designer's dream: creativity is unfettered, unrestrained by any financial considerations. What a talent it is to be able to conceptualize, design, and produce any garment you can imagine.

Another advantage for designers is that Haute Couture is not influenced by trends at all. Haute Couture offers to busy and exhausted extravagantly wealthy women an escape from a gray reality to the world of dream and luxury. And they do not care about prices. Haute Couture represents perfection and beauty, and fashion without Haute Couture is unimaginable. In order to compensate, business savvy designers and fashion houses are selling perfumes and ready-to-wear clothes at mass market prices and netting a huge amount of money for Haute Couture. There is no reason why not to be impressed by Haute Couture.

LF: What is your background? Are you a designer? Do you buy haute couture for yourself?

J'adore Haute Couture: I have recently graduated from high school. Due to my desire of pursuing fashion design, I am planning to apply for University of Fashion Design next year. I have been interested in fashion for several years and it is still fascinating me. I am drawing and sketching a lot, so that one day my dream may come true. Because of the fact that there are not any menswear haute couture collections, I cannot buy Haute Couture for myself. In addition to that, I do not have enough money.

LF: You have over 1,400 videos on YouTube. About how much of them are dedicated to fashion?

J'adore Haute Couture: I believe that all of them are dedicated to fashion. I have a huge amount of fashion shows, and this is just a part of it. If I had had more time, I would have uploaded more shows. I'm not sure whether one day I will upload all of the videos. I want to keep some of them in my private collection. Only time will tell.

LF: After having seen so many fashion shows, do you have a favorite designer? Who do you think does the best job of designing haute couture? Can you give me an example from one of your videos?

J'adore Haute Couture: When I am watching fashion show, I'm looking for diversity and designer's ability to explore and expand his/her skills. The more creative, the better. There are many great fashion designers, but only few of them are moving fashion forward. For me, one of them would be Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga. If one wants to see some timeless clothes, Balenciaga may be the best choice. So it has. I also admire work of Alber Elbaz for Lanvin and Muccia Prada. It is astounding to see ability of top designers to interpret their view of the woman in various ways. Each season, they design something totally different and new, but one can always tell the outfits are for instance Balenciaga or Prada. Nowadays, there are only few couture designers, and I think all of them are masters of what they are doing. Couturier is the highest possible post in the fashion, and only the chosen by Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture are honored to design masterpieces. Everybody has different style, so preferences depend on customers' tastes. Personally I like Valentino, Chanel and Elie Saab. They are combining flawless constructions and spectacular details. Their clothes are also very wearable -- although this fact is not relevant in designing Haute Couture.

Elie Saab HC FW07 full show

Valentino HC FW06 full show

LF: Are you surprised that even though the videos are about models wearing designer clothes that many of comments that come from your audience are questions about the songs and music used in the fashion shows?

J'adore Haute Couture: A bit, but it is alright. I am also curious about the soundtracks, and viewers provide me with the track lists. It works well.

To watch the many high-quality fashion shows uploaded by Tomáš, please visit his user profile on YouTube at: J'adore Haute Couture. Read the next installment of this exclusive interview:

Part I, Part II


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Friday, June 13, 2008

J'adore Haute Couture: Fashion is Art Available for Anyone

'Haute Couture is even beyond art.'

Tomáš, who owns the very popular profile, J'adore Haute Couture, on YouTube, talks about the importance of music in fashion shows and about his favourite models.

LF: What do you think makes the best music for fashion shows? Can you give me an example from one of your videos?

J'adore Haute Couture: In my opinion, music must fit the theme of the collection. It had better be neither too fast nor too slow. It should be presented in a modern way even though the used songs may be older. Moreover, individual songs should not be tacky.

Gucci FW06 full show

Versace FW 2003

Lanvin FW08

LF: What is the feedback you get from your audience to your videos? What do you hope the viewers of your videos will get out of watching the fashion shows?

J'adore Haute Couture: It varies. Many people are grateful, which is very satisfying for me. I started posting videos because I felt so thankful to people who were uploading full shows on YouTube a year ago. So, I wanted to make my own contribution. I strive for bringing as good videos as possible. Many people are not considerate about art in today's society. For me, fashion is art available for anyone. Not everybody can visit famous museums with paintings of Renoir, Picasso, or Basquiat or attend operas, ballets or classical concerts. On the other hand, one can enter the world of art and dreaming while watching fashion shows. That is the reason why I upload all these files.

LF: Do you think that fashion design students can learn something from watching these videos?

J'adore Haute Couture: They may avoid being stuck in just one style. Designers are always making something new every season. They are very flexible and creative. These two things are crucial to make it into the industry. People are not interested in something they have already seen before. In fashion, there are no rules. Fashion design students, on the other hand, have to be careful not to start to copy designers' outfits or accessories from the videos. They have to find their own signature or they become pseudo-designers who don't know what to design next season.

LF: Do you think that new fashion models can learn to walk with poise and confidence from your videos?

J'adore Haute Couture: They might. Although walk is not one of the most important things in the fashion industry, it can be an advantage of a model.

LF: What have you learned from having watched so many fashion shows?

J'adore Haute Couture: Many things. I am not going to mention them all, just couple of them. I realised what fashion is all about. Art and customers. One has to learn the entity of art and to become creative but he/she also has to satisfy customers and find a good balance between these two opposite things.

LF: Do you have a favorite female model? Can you give me an example from one of your videos?

J'adore Haute Couture: Too many. To name a few: from the middle generation* of supermodels I like Daria Werbowy and Hana Soukupova. There are many fresh faces but I like Ali Michael and Heidi Mount. I like models with great personalities who are very down-to-earth.

Other models that I like:

* old generation: Amber Valletta, Caroline Murphy, Nadja Auermann, Stella Tennant, Linda Evangelista...

* middle generation: Gemma Ward, Gisele Bundchen, Karolina Kurkova, Liya Kebede, Karen Elson...

* new generation: Hilary Rhoda, Doutzen Kroes, Caroline Trentini, Catherine McNeil, Lara Stone...

First Face Talks FW07 – Daria Werbowy

Models Talk SS08 – Ali Michael

Models Talk SS08 – Heidi Mount

LF: Thank you, Tomáš, for taking the time to answer my questions. Good luck with your studies, and I wish you all the best in fashion design. We hope to see you present your own line of Haute Couture. With all of the inspiration that you have had (and offer to everyone) from your videos, we are sure it will be very soon.

To watch the many high-quality fashion shows uploaded by Tomáš, please visit his user profile on YouTube at: J'adore Haute Couture. Read the previous installment of this exclusive interview:

Part I, Part II


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