Haute couture is beautiful, technically dazzling, and accessible to only a very few. Prêt-à-porter, or ready-to-wear, is arguably more democratic, though runway pieces can often seem just as removed from everyday life. In the book Haute-à-Porter, out June 30 from Lannoo, author Filep Motwary examines the relationship between the two seemingly distinct pillars of the fashion industry.
Haute-à-Porter takes into consideration specific pieces like the corset and the crinoline, examining their roles in couture and ready-made fashion. It traces the history and influence of techniques like embellishment, draping, and creating volume. And it explores more general themes, like the idea of a “classic” piece of clothing.
Click ahead for images of both haute couture and ready-to-wear pieces highlighting the best assets of each realm: models in checkerboard gowns, gauzy starfish-embellished skirts on the sand, and a red-lipped Cate Blanchett veiled behind a fishnet mask.