Who really buys couture?

If you’re anything like us, you watched all the fashion week shows making a wish-list (Miu Miu mules, Peter Pilotto dress, Chanel sparkly tweed jacket, Mulberry everything and Dior tea dress) dependent on a large lottery win and you’re keeping everything crossed that the high street is going to produce seem great designer-inspired pieces!

So if ready-to-wear is expensive, who buys Haute Couture?! According to Reuters it’s super rich (and super lucky) women from the Gulf region.

Reuters said: “Their social calendar, which usually consists of 15-20 weddings a year and private parties every month, creates much bigger demand for couture than the occasional charity ball and high society party in Europe and in North America,” – maybe one of our fav blogs, The Coveteur should hot-foot it over to the Gulf countries to peek in their couture-packed wardrobes?!

Christian Dior’s head of couture reportedly said that all the royal families of the Middle East are customers, while the CEO of Emanuel Ungaro said that women in the Middle East are their top customers. The CEO of Hermes, Patrick Thomas said that around a third of the company’s sales come from Middle Eastern customers.

So – can we please have a Middle Eastern version of Gossip Girl please?

Interestingly Elle picked up on the story and helpfully pointed out that Hermes and Ungaro don’t strictly do couture, but also noted that apart from plenty of cash perhaps couture is so big in the Middle East as at some weddings and events men and women spend time apart in separate rooms…so fashion competition between the girls can be intense!

One woman who apparently buys 30-40 couture outfits a year told Reuters: “What I want is unique pieces, extravagant and chic. I do not want to pay 5,000 or 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.” We have that problem with Topshop.

Apparently Dior and Chanel now do mini shows of their couture creations in hotel rooms or best-client homes and it’s likely they will continue to increase their presence in the Middle East, especially with the first Qatar Fashion Week kicking off in March 2012.


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