What to Expect When You Buy Couture

Gina Marinelli

Cathy Horyn calls it “the perfect fashion experience.” Actually, she says it’s the only one. In a personal essay for The Cut today, the famed and always straight-shooting fashion critic walks us through what it takes to have a piece of couture fashion made custom for your body. And more so, what it feels like.

For starters, her first-ever couture ensemble of a black suit began with three trips to Chanel in Paris in order for Horyn to be properly fitted. And as she describes, each fitting was so intricate that even wearing a different bra could noticeably change the precise measurements. The final result was impeccable, as expected—the Rue Cambon atelier, which was honored in last season’s runway show, is know for that. “I would gradually discover in other fitting rooms, the reason a couture garment makes you feel pretty—or, equally, comfortable and secure—has little to do with what’s on the outside. It comes from the inside, from how the garment is constructed,” Horyn recounts, referencing the difference in how her body looked and her posture.

While in total Horyn includes all three couture experiences she’s had in her life at the houses of Chanel, Dior, and Alaïa, these memories are much more important personal learning than merely a visit to the lap of luxury. And really, what’s so unique about her story is that the experience is inconceivable for, well, most of us. As much as we love to observe and dissect the couture runways, they more often serve as inspiration and fantasy to which, realistically, a five-figure price tag is attached (Horyn’s Chanel suit was four figures but, hey, it was 2000). Check out the complete personal account up on The Cut now that gets to the heart of a mysterious, perhaps life-changing, and apparently "perfect" fashion experience.

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