AFTER TABLES: Behind every daring haute couture name in fashion history, there are female workers who are “all that fashion never was,” the authors, Sophie Kurkdjian, a historian, and Sandrine Tinturier, an archivist, wrote in the introduction to “Au Coeur des Maisons de Couture” (or Inside Couture).
Or rather, the patriarchal society of the time would rather not exist, explains Kurkdjian.
The idea for this 216-page essay came after curator Olivier Saillard invited them to contribute to his 2019 anthology “Le Bouquin de la Mode,” Tinturier recalls.
“Initially, we wanted to write about forgotten couture houses. One led to the next, and we ended up writing about the ‘little hands’ behind couture,” she said.
But their 30-page contribution only made them realize that there was little representation of the workers behind a thriving industry, especially amid the rise of haute couture in the 1880s and the post-World War II advent of ready-to-wear fashion in 1950.
“There are not many books on this basic subject. I’m so glad we can celebrate this collective enterprise called atelier, fashion house or studio, whatever you like,” Saillard said one evening at the Fondation Azzedine Alaïa to celebrate the book and Saint Catherine, patron saint of lacemakers, mills, couture – and spinsters.
Throughout the essay, the couple sought to single out the image of fragile and overly erotic seamstresses commonly depicted in the literature of the time. Instead, female couture workers emerged as strong-willed women who wanted to be free and even became “forgotten pioneers of the proletariat,” based on historical documents. , which includes job profiles for Chanel, Lanvin and other high-fashion labels.
“We want to show that they are workers fighting for rights, wages, working conditions, risking livelihoods or police brutality. They went on strike and won rights without their male colleagues – like a paid half day off a week – despite not being allowed a seat at unions because they were female,” Tinturier said. .
For anyone who finds the subject too far-fetched or academic, Kurkdjian concludes: “Give back space to the individuals in fashion, illuminate the people behind the scenes, and the idea that behind the car Shirts with women – and men – are of our time. ”
https://wwd.com/eye/lifestyle/womens-right-paris-couture-sophie-kurkdjian-sandrine-tinturier-alaia-foundation-1235004939/ The book The Transformation of Female Workers in High Fashion – WWD