Couture vs. Deconstruction

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The relationship between Couture and Deconstruction – It’s an often and highly discussed topic, so I’ll try to put it into a nutshell.

Since a few decades it seems like there’s a battle in fashion going on. At the one hand the memorial couture with all its fairytale-like dresses, tailored beautifully, shifting us to fairytale moments. This is the Zeitgeist-Ideal of the former centuries. On the other hand, there’s the offensive deconstruction trend. By the broad public deconstructed fashion is often seen as the fashion that’s not really pretty.

Did you know?

Deconstruction in fashion is the result of the process when you separate segments from a conventional piece of clothing and place it to another position. Deconstruction is a critical confrontation with what runs counter to the structural unity, the questioning and dissolution of the currently existing. An example: The collar of a shirt might become cuffs or a new type of seam part. The silhouette of a woman’s body becomes deformed by fabric bulges.

Ever since fashion has been a symbol of wealth and a privilege to the aristocracy, as I mentioned in my lastest post. Couturiers and Designers, especially Christian Dior, knew what people wanted to wear after the second world war, when people had to arrange with the clothing they had left and repaired. In 1947 Christian Dior established the New Look. Perfectly tailored costumes and dresses, beautifully draped, accentuating the feminin silhouette. Everything was pretty wonderful – he hit the spot women were missing those days.

1947’s New Look with the typical Ligne Corolle (the skirt looking like a flower turned upside-down). photo: ©

The disrupt, which came in shape of deconstruction, started in 1981. This was the year when Rei Kawakubo and Yoji Yamamoto came to Paris showing their disrupted and wasted looking collections to an international audience. It was the total opposite of what existing fashion was and determined to express. It was a scandal, people were shocked and it was raining harsh criticism by editors, people from the subject but also the public. The beauty ideal, which lasted centuries of fashion history, has been questioned for the first time in such a public way.

The Comme des Garcons Collection by Rei Kawakubo from 1997 is the one that finally had a great impact on the fashion scene. Kawakubo estranged bodyparts and proportions and questioned the ideal silhouette. photo: © Condé Nast Archive

Yohji Yamamoto’s collection from Spring 2018 estranging proportions and functionality ever since he started out in 1973. Photo: © Monica Feudi /

But those two pioneers were just the beginning of seperating fashion into two pieces for the upcoming decades. The Antwerp six, Margiela, Vetements or Balenciaga (under the direction of Demna Gvasalia since 2015, founder of Vetements 2009) were continuing those new ideals, following the deconstruction trend. Those new impulses are reaching everyone who has, somehow a connection to fashion. It’s obvious, that deconstruction slowly trickles down into the overall spirit of fashion. Anyway, it seemed like the two counter-poles, Deconstruction and Couture, were working kind of against each other for decades…What’s the turning point right now….? To be continued soon!



  1. 20/11/2017 / 09:41

    I really love fashion and it is so much more than just on the surface. You can express who you are in seconds.
    Great read, thanks for your thoughts.


  2. Lilian
    14/11/2017 / 18:30

    That one was so interesting to read! At first sight most of those outfits are looking weird, however, there really is much more to it than one might think.

    Have a great day
    Liebe Grüße

  3. 10/11/2017 / 11:34

    Such a good post my dear! It was so interesting reading it. 🙂

    xx Sarah

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