Our guide in the elegance and subtleties of this special business is the designer Milena Atanasova, who has extensive personal experience in this industry.
The best thing that could happen to a dress is to be worn by someone. Fashion is not for museum exhibits, says Karl Lagerfeld, in contrast to the superimposed idea we have here that haute couture is made almost entirely for the catwalks. Our guide in the elegance and subtleties of this special business is the designer Milena Atanasova, who has extensive personal experience in this industry.
What is haute couture
It is not just a fad or a whim, but higher values and ideals, skills and techniques that remain for eternity. Haute couture is a tradition of fine craftsmanship and special knowledge, which is passed down from generation to generation and is preserved as a valuable world cultural heritage, which has gone through all sorts of ordeals. However, novelties and synergy from the time when these exquisite clothes are being created are added to them. That is why haute couture is a sustainable fashion that carries its own spirit and uniqueness. It is an art that can be worn.
The language of haute couture
Parisian fashion uses both innovations in fabrics and creative architecture to create models. French is the preferred language of haute couture, literally and figuratively speaking. Today, it is a "trademark" that can only be used by companies that meet specific standards. Any company that claims to create "couture" has to meet a set of requirements, and then obtain the approval of the Haute Couture Union in Paris, which takes years to receive. But the term is also used for any first-class custom-made clothes, whether sewn in Paris or in other fashion centres, such as London, New York, Tokyo, Milan. This haute couture is often made for a specific client and is usually made of expensive high-quality fabrics, sewn with great attention to detail, and using time-consuming hand techniques.
An opportunity for the Bulgarian designers
Like Bulgarian embroidery and Chiprovtsi carpets, haute couture has certain codes and vibrations, which is why it is so expensive. And if the Bulgarian embroideries are woven into the high fashion in a new and refined way, this will not only give it added value, but also originality. Bulgarian designers could develop such a business, but with the necessary knowledge of haute couture techniques and with their own national definition for elegant and sophisticated fashion.
The impact of crises
The times of global economic recession are a fantastic period for fashion, as they allow the development of both simple and complex clothes that rely on exquisite and innovative techniques. Haute couture is the engine of all fashion goods - from luxury items to the pret-a-porter industry. It is the creative laboratory of the whole clothing industry and even drives part of the ready-to-wear fashion. Over the years, haute couture has been a keeper of values. Only when the wealthy people in Bulgaria realize what layers this art hides, they will be open to it and will be ready for such an investment.
The new trends
Designers in Paris are now striving to create timeless collections in neutral tones whose models can be worn for years. According to them, this aesthetic corresponds perfectly to sustainable sensible production. The business in France is currently rethinking the limits of its economic systems. In order not to be thrown ashore, the big names are adapting to the new coronavirus reality. Otherwise, eco-materials, as well as smart materials are in trend in general. Even solutions to repel contaminants are in demand, and moreover, attempts are being made to weave anti-virus threads. Currently, everything is being reformulated, traditional techniques, fabrics and materials will still be used, but in a new way. Smart fabrics will push fashion forward. The future will belong to the original boutique clothing. And everything will be recorded in the virtual world. Advertising strategies are also being reviewed - from storefronts to online offerings. The pandemic has made it possible to recapitulate on what we have already achieved in fashion. Emerging brands will come up with new models and offerings. At the same time, the biggest names in haute couture show resistance to turbulence, as they always have a Plan B for times of turmoil. Haute couture is made by creative people and they will restart this business in an original way.
Milena Atanasova is a designer and creative consultant, a lecturer in Paris at the Studio MVL Institute of Haute Couture. She is also an artist, exhibiting her paintings and artistic ideas in different parts of the world, doing this every year in Paris, she is also well known in Japan and Sweden. She has participated in the creation of collections for Givenchy, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and has had a long presence in several collections of Alexander McQueen, where she made some of the dresses for Sarah Jessica Parker, as well as one of the dresses for Sandra Bullock for her role in the movie "The Proposal". She is the creator of innovative techniques in haute couture, as well as clothing materials, which has won her an entry in the encyclopaedia of haute couture, as well as in the encyclopaedia of world heritage. The most expensive dress she has created as part of haute couture collections is worth 500 thousand euros.
Milena Atanasova admits that she grew up in a family with modest living conditions and pragmatism became her ally. This gave her the opportunity to constantly seek innovative approaches to creativity and design and to gain knowledge and experience. Every crisis for her is an incentive to focus on new techniques and business models, following her creative entrepreneurial instinct. The coronavirus crisis changed her plans, but opened new horizons for her. This fall we are about to see how far the flight of her imagination has gone with the premier of her live performance for the first time in Bulgaria after the isolation.