Remember when people said couture was the preserve of the stars, glamour was priced off the High Street, We’ve often been sold “aspirational” as unaffordable. That is changing, oh it may take time, but notice is being served. Here o the streets of our cities and towns we can hear the gallop from the runways to our purses and wallets.
It started with diffusion rages, accessories, a certain handbag range sprigs to mind and brand link ups. We saw the legends of Paris, London, Milan, and New York Fashion Weeks suddenly turn up in deals with mid market fast fashion outlets. It was the start of the change the testing of the water. The couture labels saw an untapped market and more importantly a price point they could work at while retaining the essence and integrity of the brand.It was a way t give customers access to their garments.
It was a thought that had been in my head for a while now, this years LFW had bee a road ma for this. Then the other day an invite popped into my inbox, Ariella a couture label that has dressed such luminaries as Princess Diana & Naomi Watts were opening a new store. Well not just any store, a flagship close to where the family are from in North London. After 30 years away making high end products they have returned to our High Streets and shopping centres, opening the shop at Brent Cross with a collection that starts at £75.
Keeping the drama and occasion of the red carpet (Their gowns are familiar at the Oscars etc during awards season) they have selected the elements that make them a stars go to label and have brought them into the collection. Classic is a theme i the full lengths, you can imagine yourself waltzing into the venue with cameras flashing and reporters shouting, but they sit comfortably alongside the more playful dresses and their prints. Brocade has been used effectively, its placed with restraint, selecting how to add to the design. Its a trap many fall in to “throw brocade at it to class it up”, but Ariella avoid by knowing how, when and where to use it. This is a collection great for all those summer events from prom to Black Tie Gala, they have it covered.
Its interesting the store location (one of many planned) sits in a wig seemingly more dedicated to the return of the higher end labels. Saville Row and Jermyn Street also have outposts here for the chaps.
If the outcome of a more product driven market place is access to the best designers then this can only be a good thing. Where reputations need to be maintained and protected we should all benefit. The arrival of this vanguard seems much better than the one I saw in the late 80’s/early 90’s, its not one of knock offs and bung any old shit and hope it sells, its about delivering the brand as a creative force into a different market place. Integrity and history are the new words for this movement.
The future is bright, the future is a £300 price point.