Who Really Buys Couture Clothes Anyway?

WIth Haute Couture Week fully underway in Paris, the world's preeminent fashion designers are walking stunning, handmade creations down the runways of Paris. While they're all very pretty to look at, we have to ask the question: is anyone actully buying this stuff? 

Once a hobby reserved for only the wealthiest in the world--and, usually, that meant more established, mature women—WWD has released a fascinating report suggesting that the new wave of couture shoppers are anything but. According to a source at Christian Dior, for example, the average age of the customer buying couture clothing has dropped an average of 10 years—from women in their 40s to those in just their early 30s. Since all couture fashion is completely handmade, and a single piece can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, this is pretty astounding.

The economic power required to purchase these pieces notwithstanding, WWD points out that many of the contemporary couture collections have erred on the more youthful side in their general aesthetic. Karl Lagerfeld's Spring/Summer 2014 couture collection for Chanel, for example, incorporated younger elements like iridescent detailing and sneakers—decisions that led to Chanel citing record sales for a couture collection.

“In recent years, we have witnessed an interesting phenomenon of generational change where couture is concerned, especially in established markets,” designer Giorgio Armani told WWD. “At one time couture was, so to speak, exclusively reserved for mothers. Today, their daughters are starting to appreciate this particularly exclusive and high-level form of fashion. It is a cosmopolitan audience that is demanding and informed, that doesn’t see itself in the old mould of haute couture, which was static and rigid.”

Head to WWD to read the rest of the interesting insight into who's actually shopping couture. Then tell us: Would you ever drop thousands of dollars for a piece of couture fashion? Sound off in the comments below!