We’ve often wondered how the couture business stays afloat. Does anyone really buy that stuff? The answer is a resounding and absolute yes, and one corner of the planet is buying up every stitch of the best French fashion houses have to offer.
According to Reuters, no one (and we mean no one) buys couture gowns like Middle Eastern women. That’s right — wealthy women in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates are far more likely to buy Dior haute couture or Armani Prive than, say, women in the United States or France. That might seem strange considering many women in the region have to observe strict rules about clothing. But that’s only in public. For private events and weddings, women of means tend to go hog wild — and in some circles, the social calendar “usually consists of 15-20 weddings a year and private parties every month.”
So how do you avoid showing up to a soiree not wearing the same thing as anyone else? You drop major coin on some seriously exclusive dresses. And designer simply won’t do, according to one woman:
“What I want is unique pieces, extravagant and chic. I do not want to pay 5,000 or 6,000 euros for a dress, as it happened to me with a Pucci outfit recently, and see it on somebody else the same evening.”
To that end, couture sellers have to have an intimate knowledge not only of their customer, but also of who their customers know. When you’re spending up to $75,000 on a dress, you expect not to run into someone else wearing it.
“I had the opportunity to see a wedding that was recently held here in Dubai. 4,000 women were invited to the reception and everybody in the room was wearing haute couture,” said Simon Lock, who works as creative director for Dubai Fashion Week. “And there are lots and lots of weddings to attend. The wedding season is very expensive here.
Analysts say that the rise in the Middle East’s couture spending only started a few years ago, and that the region is likely to keep on buying more couture than in Europe and North America, where the economic downturn has women recycling outfits like wildfire.