In Leeds we have recently been lucky enough to hear from two influential guest lecturers who both gave an insight into the fashion industry and have also inspired us as designers.
Roland Klein came and spoke about his life in fashion, starting with his first placement working under Dior, and then working as an assistant to Karl Lagerfeld who was designing for Jean Patou. Everything he had to say was just inspiring, in particular his experiences within couture houses and also the illustrations of his own original sketches for couture clients.
True couture was designed around a client, and a catalogue for example of sketches would be sent to the clients of a design house and they would then choose which styles they would like in what colours and of how many. It seems that the true meaning of couture clothing these days is confused with the idea of having a garment made and tailored to one person in a design they have specified. Although the couture industry has significantly shrunk there is still a place for couture in Paris, which will always remain the heart of couture fashion. Nowadays, the fashion houses survive on people buying into the idea of the couture houses such as Dior and Chanel, by allowing for mass produced garments, shoes, bags, lingerie, hosiery, purses, hats and accessories, it is no longer about selling a dress it is more about selling the image of the brand.
After speaking about couture, Roland Klein also told us of his different experiences working for Marina Rinaldi which is part of the MaxMara Italian fashion group. He spoke very passionately of his experiences working in Italy, their love of design and how great it would be to experience working in Italy. It was definitely an inspiring lecture!