Couture by the Numbers

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2,000 feathers were used in this look by Gaultier. Photo: Imaxtree

Ah, couture. The magical gowns, the floaty chiffon, the crazy hair: We all know it takes a lot of hardworking hands to create the one-of-a-kind looks. But we wondered: Just how many seamstresses, yards of fabric, sequins, and false eyelashes are needed by a house to achieve perfection? So we asked. The designers were, unsurprisingly, busy last week. And some were less inclined to give up the nitty-gritty details. But we gathered the info from a few of our favorite couturiers, and the numbers will astound you. From Paris, with love — enjoy.

Jean Paul Gaultier

• Most Used Materials: Leather, Crocodile, Celluloid [for the Cinema Dress]
• Yards of Each Used: Over 100
• Number of Hats: 4
• Number of Veils: 1
• Types of Feathers Used: Ostrich, Egret
• Number of Feathers Used: Approx. 10,000
• Average Number of Fittings per Piece: 2-5
• Number of Seamstresses Working: 40 [one seamstress per look]
• Number of Hours Seamstresses Clocked in Per Piece: 80 [for a jacket] - 300 [for a dress]
• Heaviest Piece: The Gold Dress, modeled by Michelle Boswell
• Weight: 12 lbs
• Longest Train: 5 meters
• Highest Heel: 14 centimeters
• Furthest Trip the Materials Took: India to Paris
• Number of Models: 26

Chanel

Chanel used 450,000 sequins and pearls in the collection.Photo: Imaxtree

• Most Used Materials: Tweed, Silk Chiffon, Silk Tulle, Silk Velvet, Satin, Lace, and Guipure
• Yards of Each Used: Approx. 6 meters [short numbers] to 25 meters [cocktail dresses] to 35 meters [long dresses]
• Number of Hats: Approx. 20
• Number of Veils: 0
• Types of Feathers Used: Rooster, Duck, Guinea Fowl
• Amount of Feathers Used: Approx. 130 grams
• Number of Sequins and Pearls Used: Over 450,000
• Average Number of Fittings per Piece: 3-4
• Average Time Spent on a Single Look: 2 weeks
• Number of Seamstresses Working on the Finale Look: 3
• Number of Hours Seamstresses Clocked in for Finale Look: Over 500 hours
• Longest Train: 200 meters [for the wedding dress]
• Furthest Trip the Materials Took: Japan to Paris [the Silk Jersey]

Christian Lacroix

Lacroix's dress took 200 hours to finish.Photo: Getty

• Most Used Materials: Wool Crepe, Leather Satin, Tweed, Wool [often left from previous collections]
• Yards of Each Used: Approx. 3 meters [jackets] to 5 meters [coats] to 12 meters and over
• Average Number of Fittings per Piece: 3
• Average Time Spent on a Single Look: 2 weeks
• Average Number of Seamstresses Working on a Single Look: 2
• Number of Seamstresses Working on a Single Atelier Dress: 13
• Number of Hours Seamstresses Clocked in for Finale Look: Over 200 hours
• Number of Seamstresses Working on Bridal Dress: 4 [plus 3 more ateliers working on its additional embroideries]
• Materials' Sources: Italy, France, London, Belgium
• Number of Models: 10

Maison Martin Margiela


• Most Used Materials: Lambskin Leather, Goatskin Leather, Wool
• Number of Pen Caps: 2,000
• Number of Fake Eyelashes: 245
• Amount of Chain and Vintage Jewelry: 20 meters
• Number of Bicycle Reflectors: 300
• Number of Fans: 24
• Average Number of Hours Seamstresses Clocked in Per Piece: 20 to 26 [fake eyelash vest] to 30 [pen cap smoking jacket] to 42 [chain biker jacket]
• Furs Used: Vintage Rabbit and Fox