the key distinction in a couture garment is that nearly everything is made by hand. Why? Because you have more control in crafting exactly what the designer wants, and also because cutting and sewing clothes by hand gives a “roundness” that contrasts with the flatness of machine-made clothes. A skirt with volume, for example, looks that way because of hand techniques. “The interfacing, the small stitches, the toile hold the fabric and the shape,” explains Monique Bailly, a head tailor at Dior Not long ago, I asked Karl Lagerfeld what makes something “couture,” and for once he was stumped: “It’s difficult to say.” Maybe couture is the idea of something being produced only once, a sense of its ephemerality. But it is the opposite, too. As Bailly points out: “Handmade gives longevity to a garment. The garment, so to speak, is eternal.”

— what makes couture different?  

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