When National Geographic approached Academy of Couture Art for an interview about famous parties past and present and what was worn, we could not think of anyone better than our very own Costume History professor Douglas SPESERT.
At Academy of Couture Art, we go much more in-depth on costume. We break it down into three quarters and take it to the next level in the bachelor years to haute couture garment and accessory analysis.
When it comes to famous parties past and present fashion is certainly in mind. For the National Geographic series, particularly interest was on the woman that comes to a couture mind, Marie Antoinette.
Douglas SPESERT was thrilled. Questions of cost, make, and fabric were something quickly accessible. “I’ve been teaching this for years.”
“At that time, a typical dress that would be worn at a masked ball might be about 6500-8000 livres; about the cost of a Mercedes nowadays. The average tailor’s salary was only about 4 livres a month while the best paid seamstresses employed by other firms earned about 450 livres a year. You can see the astronomical costs for the materials and embellishments.”
“Connections from the past to modern with a human character and contemplating the decisions behind everything are fascinating.”
Douglas SPESERT holds a Master of Fine Arts in Theater Arts from a UCLA and a Bachelor in History from UC Santa Cruz. His professional background spans a broad range of theatre, television, film, opera including costume design highlights with Showtime, HBO-Def Jam, Lionel Richie Production, Reebok, Don Giovanni (LA Opera).
Last week Academy of Couture Art had the wonderful opportunity for inspiration at the invitation of the LACMA Costume Council.
Andrew Bolton, Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, shared his insightful perspective on the spirit of the American woman through her ever evolving dress (critically acclaimed exhibit at the MET: American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity).
Through his amazing exhibit and presentation, Andrew Bolton reminded us that costumes are very strong tools to convey an “Art de Vivre” to the community.
As commented by Thierry ÉTÉ, Academy of Couture Art, “As we could see through this exhibit, among each era, style, and movement, uniformity in the silhouette was a collective convention. The fashion of today is heading to a dilution of uniformity serving more creatively the unique personality of individual clients. This is exciting for woman who leads the movement for freedom of expression and strength of personality!”
After the event, I met a lovely woman who, upon hearing of Academy of Couture Art, was brightened with joy to reminisce on her experiences viewing haute couture runway shows in Paris perhaps over forty years ago. “Back then the runway was not filled with over the top costumes.” What you saw was pure beauty that you could instantly see yourself wearing. They were garments you dreamed of owning and when you did you cherished them forever because they fit so beautifully, were made with such care, were enriched with even the simplest of detail, and always made you look and feel gorgeous. It was magical. “I had pieces that I wore for almost twenty years.”
This is a perfect example of what couture is all about. It is, before anything, a concept of perfection, of uniqueness, of detailed craftsmanship, of impeccable, elegant fit that should not be reserved only for an elite, but supporting the entire fashion industry at every level. As a matter of fact, the fashion industry has no other choice than to follow this path of quality where fashion art, defined by haute couture, is reflected in the unique personalities of the broader market.
- Because we care
Academy of Couture Art