After what feels like endless months of restrictions, delays and disappointment, we could all use a little escapism right now - which is why a schedule full of fantastical, exquisitely crafted couture feels more needed than ever.
This week marks the return of physical couture shows in Paris, complete with an audience and immaculately dressed front row, and one such guest lucky to receive an invitation this season was Israeli actress Naama Preis, who this morning attended her first Chanel Couture show.
"With couture, I feel like you can dream," she told us, shortly after the show. "You really can hone in on the craft and see the attention to the smallest details."
The actress added that this celebration of craftsmanship feels particularly relevant right now, "because of its connection to the human soul," she explained. "It’s personal, with touching narratives that are not manufactured by machines, but are steered and created by individuals so devoted to their craft. There’s a human connection" - something which we've all come to understand as vital, given the events of the past 18 months.
"Couture is a perfect meeting of individuality and excellence - it's the opera of fashion," added stylist Sarah Edmiston, who worked with Preis on her front-row look, alongside styling partner Zadrian Smith.
Naturally, Preis wore head-t0-toe Chanel for the occasion - an experience in itself - a look consisting of a cropped tweed jacket and matching wide-leg trousers, finished off with flat sandals.
"What I wear is a direct reflection of how I feel and is connected to my emotions," says Preis. "As an actress there is so much you can express with what you wear. It reflects the way you act and how you move, sometimes without you having to say one word at all."
Of course, dressing for a couture show isn't quite as simple as throwing on your favourite Chanel and running out the door; there's an army at work behind each VIP guest.
"When we are styling a client for the front row, we are always looking to find that perfect combined duality of their personal style and taste, with the established aesthetic of the house," explained Smith. "It’s a balancing act so that one doesn’t overpower the other. When accomplished, it’s pure fashion magic."
If the pandemic has caused us all to collectively reprioritise, Edmiston says there can be no better reminder of the importance of investing in high-quality craftsmanship over the throw-away fast fashion culture that so dominated previous decades.
"It is essential that we invest in wear-forever pieces; buy better so it lasts longer," she says. "Knowing your own style is key in this endeavour. Once you have figured that out, invest in the key, high-quality pieces that speak your fashion narrative. My favourite Chanel bag I bought in 2016, and it still works with almost every look I put together. Buying higher quality, longer lasting pieces is a chance to own fewer things, have more control over your wardrobe and have better reins on your style." While couture might be a little out of most budgets, the sentiment could not hold more true. And, if we're not all in the market for a priceless one-of-a-kind gown, we can certainly indulge in the fantasy.
So, how would Preis sum up her first couture show?
"Simply put, it was magical," she says. "My first haute couture experience is one that I will cherish forever."
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