"It's all too much, and that's where the loveliness - the couture moment - begins. The clothes are extravagant and unreal, but they don't seem camp. They don't seem artificial or out of this world, just symbolic of a common human hope that the world could be something other than it is - younger and more musical and less exhausting and better lit. It proposed that the little moments of seduction on which, when we look back, so much of our life depends, could unfold as formally as they deserve to, and all dressed up. It is as if we were wishing that the rituals of sex, those moments of painful sizing up, which began with the thought 'That's a nice dress' could pass by more consequentially, slowly - love walking down a runway instead of just meeting you outside the movie theatre.
Couture is a romantic cartoon. It's a caricature of the romantic impulse, with a cartoon's exaggerations but a cartoon's energy and lighthearted poetry too. The thing you feel in a couture moment isn't 'What a wonderful dress' or, as you do with higher kinds of art, 'What a good place the world is,' but, more simply, 'I'm in love.'"
Adam Gopnik, "Couture Shock" from Paris to the Moon
Long have I mused on the role of haute couture in the fashion industry. And despite all those years of dutifully reading the Vogue UK dispatches from Paris, all those years of squinting at computer screens to descry meaning in the folds of a Christian Lacroix puffball on style.com, all those posts analysing the role of Alexa Chung and Diane Kruger wearing haute couture on the red carpet, this guy says it better than I ever could, without any interest in fashion, without any history of style, all at his first haute couture show, too. Maybe you just gotta be there, hey?
ps. you are going to be so sick of Adam Gopnik in a while. There are at least 3 more posts featuring his quotes boiling around in my brain. What else can I say other than buy the goddamn book.