Not Every Couture Client Is an Arabian Princess

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Stacey Kimel with Michael Kors in Toronto. She's very fancy, you see. Photo: Getty Images

Couture wouldn't be nearly as fascinating without the outrageous price tags and outrageous clients willing to pay them. Each couture look can cost as much as a car, and we're not talking Hondas — we're talking BMWs (at least; but what do we know about cars?). We've never met a couture client, but always imagine them as princesses who sit in thrones, dripping with gold jewelry, with a scepter in one hand and a hairless cat in the other, in marble palaces not unlike the Alhambra, decorated with more hairless cats, some with diamond collars, in a land far, far away. But the Independent interviewed two of Chanel's couture clients. And their palatial abodes are in Toronto, which isn't even that far away! They're names are Sylvia Mantella and Stacey Kimel. They say it takes at least three fittings to have a couture outfit made, and the fit isn't the only thing that's customized. The sheer skirts shown at Dior can be lined. Runway looks accented with costume jewels can be remade with real precious stones. (Indeed, a couture gown with fake jewels on it holds about as much appeal as a vegan cheeseburger.) Despite the larger conversation that emerges every couture season about the industry's increasingly uncertain longevity, Kimel says couture is forever: "It's the ultimate fantasy and the most indulgent fabrics. There will always be an audience for art." That's great. Until blogging leads us to marble palaces and a brood of hairless cats of our own, we'll just indulge in the new Hollister store or something.

Too haute to handle: Decidedly sultry couture shows [Independent]