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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Haute and fashionable

Check out a collection of 53 haute couture dresses by eight French designers
The Straits Times - October 8, 2011
By: Imran Jalal
| More
Haute and fashionable R&B singer Beyonce ditched her trademark shiny frocks for this fashion-forward design by Maxime Simoens for the cover of her latest album, 4. -- PHOTO: WOMEN'S FASHION WEEK SINGAPORE

You have seen the purple pleated dress that R&B diva Beyonce wears on the cover of her latest album, 4.

Now, get a close-up look at the frock at The Shoppes Marina Bay Sands from now till Oct 31.

Designed by French couturier Maxime Simoens, it is one of 53 haute couture dresses - a term to describe bespoke pieces created by designers certified by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Paris - from the archives and current collections of eight well-known couturiers that are here for a free exhibition.

Other designers in the showcase include Stephane Rolland and Alexis Mabille, whose designs have been seen on celebrities such as Dita Von Teese, Keira Knightley and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

This is the first time works by a group of couturiers have travelled out of Paris for a show.

Launched on Thursday, the exhibition kicks off the month-long inaugural Women's Fashion Week 2011 Singapore. The highlight is the Haute Couture Week, where the eight couturiers will stage runway shows from Oct 26 to 30.

The catwalk shows are by-invitation only, but there is also a retail event called VIP Shopping Party Night that is open to the public. This takes place next Thursday, where more than 120 stores in Marina Bay Sands will offer discounts of up to 70 per cent.

The haute couture frocks will be displayed around the mall, such as the area between the Chanel and Salvatore Ferragamo boutiques and the space between Montblanc and Tommy Hilfiger.

To get them here, the dresses had to be insured for €5.8 million (S$10.09 million). They left their Parisian ateliers wrapped in acid-free tissue and bound in layers of cellophane, and have to be kept in an air-conditioned environment at all times.

'It took us half an hour to unwrap each dress,' said Mr Frank Cintamani, chairman of the Women's Fashion Week.

He is the group chief executive of Fide Multimedia, the same company behind the inaugural Men's Fashion Week here in April.

The event's director, Mr Kien Lee, said the aim of the exhibition is to let the regular Jane and Joe have a close look at the fine workmanship and details that are the hallmarks of haute couture.

'This is a rare experience which, until now, can be accorded only to a rarefied club,' added Mr Lee, founder of Senatus, a social networking and online magazine.

On the challenges of bringing the pieces to Singapore, Mr Cintamani said the designers needed some persuasion before they agreed to show here.

'It wasn't easy. Many of them were not familiar with Asia. It was an alien concept for most of them to move out of Paris,' he said.

At the launch of the exhibition, French couturier Alexis Mabille, dubbed 'the Christmas bauble of Paris' for his trademark extravagant designs, presented six designs in white silk and lace.

'I want to show that couture is all about the shapes and volume before any colours or patterns are added,' said the 35-year-old.

Visitors to the exhibition can sign up for a free guided tour that ends with a tea session at TWG Tea salon in Marina Bay Sands.

Register online at for the tours, which take place three times a week.



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