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Haute Couture - When Birds Of A Feather Don’t Flock Together

Posted on 19 July 2015

As pink ostrich feathers fetchingly took flight at Sotheby’s inaugural haute couture auction in Paris last week, featuring vintage gowns from Didier Ludot’s collection —the Balenciaga gown that plucked top dollar at auction where the entire lot sold out at triple presale estimates—birds of a like feather were spreading their plumes in sometimes phantasmagorical settings at Haute Couture Fashion Week 2015 in Paris and Rome.

But birds of a feather don’t always flock together. Given the escalating pressures to produce 12 collections annually, plus a couture label, and maybe your own eponymous collection, there is a trend aloft to go off-piste. Wherein designers literally escort the fashion flock to alight on new turf where they present their collections, rather than gaggle on the big four traditional catwalks of New York, Paris, Milan and Rome. Outré? At the moment, perhaps, but likely not for long, as fashion labels compete for singularity.

In fact, at the recently concluded Haute Couture Fashion Week 2015 Paris, Valentino steered the fashion minion home to his Roman seat. The trek coincided with the opening of Valentino’s store in Piazza Mignanell, with designs celebrating the artistic and cultural heritage that is Rome.

To witness the kaleidoscope of haute couture from afar, one has no further to go than a social intelligence platform to engage in the ample global banter. Which is exactly what I did, through the lens of Netbase nine couture designers presenting, Chanel etched the lead in social media, perhaps owing in part to Karl Lagerfeld’s typically elaborate staging, this show built as a working casino from a bygone era of aristocratic Riviera opulence. The gowns, as it were, were largely received as a bit outdated, if not lovely.

The spectrum was shifted by another octogenarian fashion warrior, Giorgio Armani, whose Armani Privé couture show—replete with iridescent fabric weaves and ‘70s Studio 54 nostalgia—reaped a social media lift second to Chanel. Narrowing the social convo gap, a younger Lebanese designer, Elie Saab, eclipsed Dior’s social media potential impressions standing with his elaborate gowns evoking lavish Byzantine themes, his models bedecked in heavy gold jewelry and gold tiaras.

Couture designers Victor & Rolf created a chasm between the princess-gown theme in evidence at many of the shows with their Dutch painting inspired frocks, literally resembling framed folding art canvas ensembles. Rehung, these could be your wall sculpture.

While haute couture may have disparate narratives, where today’s lavish labels do harmonize their birdsong is in social media.

To this social media fashion analyst, that real change is aloft in the once rarified world of haute couture is evidenced by the winds of social media, now embraced as a critical mass in couture brand marketing to grow and net new markets. To wit, 57% of the Haute Couture Paris Week 2015 discourse was captured by Twitter, followed by nearly 40% on Instagram and YouTube.
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As the Haute Couture Paris week crosstab chart below reveals, an analysis of potential impressions, which factors the probable reach of mentions posted, the event had significant social media impact.

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