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Tailoring

The spring/summer and autumn/winter collections were the culmination of the couture house's activities. The showing of the new designs followed fixed laws of precedence, beginning with suits and ending with evening wear. Day outfits included casual ensembles (ensembles simples), morning suits (tailleurs matin), casual afternoon suits (robes d'après-midi simples) and sophisticated dress suits (tailleurs habillés).

Couture clients invested time and effort into commissioning their wardrobes, and the relationship with the designer was an intimate one. Hardy Amies wrote, 'It is often forgotten that we execute orders: we do not sell clothes. If you went into the Boutique you would buy a suit, but if you walk upstairs you order a suit. At the fittings you will be able to express your desires as to the position and finish of many details. The whole process should be a harmonious co-operation between designer, tailor and customer, with the saleswoman as a sort of referee'.

Exhibition Highlights

Select a link below to find out more about the exhibition highlights.

Tailored suits - Cristóbal Balenciaga


Tailored suit by John Cavanagh, modelled by Susan Abraham. London, 1953. Photograph by John French. V&A: AAD Info.

Tailored suit by John Cavanagh, modelled by Susan Abraham. London, 1953. Photograph by John French. V&A: AAD


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