The Secret World of Haute Couture

The world of custom made dresses or haute couture is an arena shrouded in secrecy and glamor. A BBC documentary, The Secret World of Haute Couture, is a glimpse into the dress making, designers, Paris, high society and the women who belong to “the club”. A reporter discovers the high end world of handmade gowns and lets the viewer look at some of the daily rituals. About 200 women are in the circle of buying the haute couture dresses made by Christian Dior, Chanel, Valentino, Givenchy, Lacroix and Balmain. The film begins with the fashion reporter interviewing, Becca Thrash. Becca speaks of the world she has entered through her philanthropy and marriage. She is a small town girl from Texas and was fascinated by the dresses in the pages of Vogue. The dresses are shown at The Musee de Beaux Arts, Bois de Bologne and The Grand Palais. Susan Gutfreund, a NYC socialite, attends the Paris shows and purchases gowns from the ateliers. She travels between NY and Paris and became a fixture in the world of delicate handmade gowns. The grande dames of the haute couture world are; Betsy Bloomingdale, who shows her pieces and mentions the few events at which she has worn each creation, including the Reagan inauguration. Carroll Petrie who has many foundations and shopped with the Duchess of Windsor, aka Wallace Simpson and Marisa Berenson. The film documentary interviews designer, John Galliano of Dior. He explains the couture process as he shows the collection. Daphne Guinness speaks of her love for haute couture, she shows her wedding dress. These gowns can take up to 130 hrs to design with the embroidery, horse hair, stitching, apppliques and flowers. It is a special brand of fashion worn to galas, fundraisers, weddings and society events. Time will reveal if the secret world of Parisian haute fashion will stay or evolve.

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