Haute couture saved by Middle Eastern socialites

haute couture Stephane Rolland

While designers are trying to target Western customers with affordable fashion chain collaborations or diffusion lines, their haute couture branches are almost single-handedly being kept alive by clients in the wealthy Gulf countries.

“I want to be different from others,” a buyer explains. “What I want is unique pieces, extravagant and chic. I do not want to pay 6,000 euros for a dress, as it happened to me with a Pucci outfit recently, and see it on somebody else the same evening.”

For these lucky few, a calendar full of weddings and other high-profile social events demands a wardrobe of one-off dresses by the likes of Christian Dior, Stephane Rolland, Valentino and Chanel, which can cost around $75,000 a piece.

“I have known of many occasions when a couturier will be invited to a private home for a showing. The hostess will buy maybe 20, 30 couture outfits for a season,” Simon Lock, a creative director of Dubai Fashion Week, told the newspaper.

He adds: “I had the opportunity to see a wedding that was recently held here in Dubai. 4,000 women were invited to the reception and everybody in the room was wearing haute couture.”

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