Why High Fashion Customers Are Thrilled About the Cancellation of Paris Shows
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of Paris fashion shows, there was one group of fashionistas who found a silver lining in the situation. High fashion customers, specifically the ultra-wealthy women who indulge in the exquisite and exorbitant handmade creations showcased during Paris haute couture week, were surprisingly not disappointed. In fact, they celebrated the cancellation as it meant their favorite designers would have to come to them.
Julien Fournié, a French courtier, discussed his clients’ reaction to the cancellation in an interview with AFP. He initially expected disappointment, but it turned out to be quite the opposite. Those who frequently purchase made-to-measure haute couture creations, often priced equivalent to luxury sports cars, were excited about the prospect of receiving personalized presentations in the comfort of their palaces and penthouses, rather than attending extravagant shows.
Fournié, who started his career as a doctor before pursuing his passion for fashion, often travels with the head of his studio, Mademoiselle Jacqueline, to various locations such as the Middle East and Asia for fittings and adjustments. He emphasized the distinctive nature of haute couture compared to off-the-rack clothing, stating that instead of having to adapt one’s body to ready-to-wear clothes, couture garments are made to perfectly wrap around the individual. Fournié takes pride in creating exclusive, one-of-a-kind pieces that cater to his affluent clients’ desire for uniqueness.
Jean-Paul Cauvin, the director of Fournié’s fashion house, shared an intriguing anecdote about a royal client who cancelled an order upon seeing a similar creation worn by Lady Gaga. This showcases the importance of exclusivity and a personal touch for the high-profile clientele who aim to avoid any association with fame or vulgarity. In fact, Fournié rarely lends his dresses to celebrities for red carpet events unless their style aligns with the essence of his fashion house.
In light of the virtual Paris fashion week, Fournié’s film will serve as a teaser rather than a comprehensive display of his collection. This intentional choice aims to prevent competition among clients vying for the same look, a common occurrence following fashion shows. Instead, the focus will be on indulging and pampering the clients, with specific dresses in mind for each individual.
Fournié’s reputation stems from his designs for “real women” with curves, deviating from the traditional focus on androgynous models dominating the catwalks. He emphasizes that his fashion house doesn’t just create fashion, but personalities. As he puts the finishing touches on his “Storm dress,” an intricately embroidered silk gown adorned with goose feathers, he envisions the wearer as an angel returning to Earth after the coronavirus.
For high fashion customers who adore the world of haute couture, the cancellation of physical fashion shows has unexpectedly brought designers to their doorsteps, resulting in a more intimate and personalized experience. This turn of events has proved to be a blessing in disguise, allowing these customers to fulfill their desires while enjoying a direct connection with their favorite designers.