Posted by the Fashion Editor at Large
A corset creation from the new Worth Haute Couture collection by Giovanni Bedin

I would like to introduce you all to a very dear friend and mentor of mine, Tony Glenville. When I first became a fashion journalist back in the mid-nineties I was terribly geeky about learning as much as possible about the history of fashion, the origins of the fashion system as we know it today and in particular how to recognise the fabrics and technniques used by designers on sight. My mentor for all of this in those days was Tony Glenville a trend forecaster by trade who was a regular journalistic contributor to The Independent, where I worked from 1995-1998. Tony is a wonderful guy with a distinctive Salvador Dali moustache, and he has been attending the Haute Couture in Paris since the 1960's when he was a fashion design student. 

He recalled to me this afternoon that when he first attended the Haute Couture shows in Paris they went on for weeks, with each design house having a daily afternoon show in order to accomodate the numbers of clients. A house model for, say, Dior, would be employed for three months at a time by the fashion house. Today a model gets employed for just half a day. The system of admittance to a show was equally archaic in the 1960's; "The Chambre Syndicale gave us letters allowing us to attend the shows, but not before asking us to present ourselves to them so they could approve what we were wearing."

In short, what Tony - who is now a creative director at London College of Fashion and resident Haute Couture expert at Luxure magazine - doesn't know about couture, can fit onto the tip of a pin. So I was deeply honoured when after teasing me with his visit to the Worth collection in Paris mid-week (I didn't have the time to see it) he sent me the below report. Charles Frederick Worth is the Englishman who is considered the forefather to the French Haute Couture, and who, by creating The House of Worth in 1871, created the first modern fashion house. Worth's son Gaston went on to found the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. It's nice to know that something as French as the Couture was started by the English.
This is Empress Elisabeth of Austria wearing Worth in 1865; the similarity in the mood of the 2010 pieces above and below is, to my eyes, astounding. 
Today The House of Worth is in the hands of a 36 year old technique-obsessed Italian called Giovanni Bedin. I like the way he has created these gowns with a skirt that can be any length,  I would like to see these pieces on a body soon. But more than that I LOVE how Tony put this together and popped it into my in-box, just like that!

"Suspended in space and time each piece floats as a work of art. Lighter than air and with workmanship which encapsulates hundreds of years of fashion, this is a distillation of Haute Couture. Made to measure for each individual, although shown here with 60 cm skirts which encompass all the detailing of the famous crinolines of Monsieur Worth. Should you order a gown, of course you choose the length of the skirt. 

Giovanni Bedin, the designer of this collection, shows both an understanding of silhouette and exquisite detail in these pieces which include feather and decorative embellishment by legendary French atelier Lemarie and also Rigon in Italy and the craftsmanship of the Ninfa team, also in Italy.
To me, these are truly dream creations which look like works of art and yet also seem destined to dance their way across the world. This may be because they reminded me of something to do with Pavlova, the legendary ballerina, and yet they are even lighter and more ethereal than a ballet tutu."
Tony Glenville  is the Creative Director: School of Media & Communications, London College of Fashion

THANKYOU Mr G xxxxxx


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