VIONNET creative directorGoga Ashkenazi believes in making couture more “accessible” for her customers – who, she says, often find the concept of haute couture “excessive and unnecessary” in today’s economic climate.
“Being a woman myself and having been a client of couture, I realise that the more special a couture dress is, the less usage it will get,” Ashkenazi explained. “The prices for couture dresses in the main fashion houses range from the tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands [of pounds], and are hence not feasible for most women – and even those clients that continue to make such purchases in today’s economy find it excessive and unnecessary, unless perhaps the dress is being worn for a once in a lifetime occasion.”
“We came up with a way of creating couture in every sense of the word with more accessible prices, by eliminating endless fittings and making dresses using top couture materials – but with sizes, and only one fitting, thus cutting the cost,” she told us. “We worked hard to make looks and dresses that have several uses, which means they can be worn in more ways than one – as well as separates like long skirts or tunics, that can be worn separately or combined.”
With prices starting at a still high, but far more economical, £2,000, each of the Vionnet demi-couture pieces is available to order in a variation of colour, print and material – meaning that the exclusivity and unique nature of a haute couture dress isn’t lost completely. “We made it our policy to only sell one unique piece per city so that a client can be reassured that they will not be wearing the same dress as another woman at an event,” she explained.
Ashkenazi bought a majority stake in the fashion house in May 2012, and took full control of the brand five months later. The former businesswoman has since worked closely with the in-house team to produce pieces that she believes reflects the “beauty and elegance” of the historical brand – which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. Vionnet continues to grow steadily – there are plans for a Paris flagship store launch and an extensive new advertising campaign before the end of the year.