Images from various Lloyd Klein Couture Collections | U.S. | 1999 - 2015
Shown here are a few of Lloyd Klein's original sketches sampled from previous collections or as drawn for his couture clients.
Images From Various Lloyd Klein Couture Collections | Paris | 1989 - 1998
The Artisanal Tradition of Couture and the Intricacy Masters of the Historic Ateliers of Paris
In 1989, Lloyd Klein launched his eponymous house of couture in Paris. It was and undoubtedly continues to remain the ideal location to learn about the artisanal values connected to couture. They are the basis for his work in the fashion field. They are the underscore all that he designs. Even his ready to wear collections are constructed with the highest standards of workmanship and materials. These details and quality levels are typically sacrificed for the sake of profitablity at retail.
His technical skills were taught to him by the master artisans, craftsmen, tailors and those who specialize in embroidery and tricot, who inhabit the small workshops of Paris. Without them, the art of couture would not continue to exist. In fact, his understanding of the ingenious techniques honed by the masters of the Maison du Couture has enabled him to carry on couture traditions. Sadly, this elevated level of apparel construction is disappearing from the fashion industry. This is partly due to the shrinking market for couture with a clientele that continue to fade away frrom the over the top days of money is no opbject we think of as the 80's and 90's. The other part of the blame for coutour's slow demise is that as the Master Craftsman grow older and leave the workforce, so does the skill that they possess. Unless they have groomed and trained replacements, something done over decades and not a year, the artisanal practice may come to an end.
The discernment and appreciation of the art of Couture begin with an understanding of why it takes nearly a dozen hands to produce a single garment. It includes the understanding of the infrastructure that is puposely hidden inside the lining of a single shoulder of a jacket or within the poitrine underlying the corsage of an evening gown. This technique often demands more hours of attentive skilled workmanship than the visible outer portions of such a masterpiece. Often, the passionate attention to detail found in the finishing of each layer of construction can only be discovered by re-opening the hand sewn inner lining stitch by stitch. The minutia in detail afforded to areas likely never to be seen by anyone other than the hands that made it, are the true evidence of whether a garment is made in the couture tradition. Whether or not it will ever be discovered, or unveiled outside of the atelier, is not the point of its effort. It is solely made this way as a statement of excellence and is part of its allure as a premium luxury exclusive to this category of apparel. Shortcuts that overlook this minutia are shunned in this field of expertise. The practice of couture, as a discipline, is a treasure of culture. Ths is particularly true in Europe, where it was formally initiated by the Grand Couturiers, most notably by Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895). At that time, the sovereign royal families used their wardrobe to signify strength and power of the nation they governed, as a political statement of power and strength. No expense was denied in the elements that were used in each incredible garment, The royal craftsman were instructed to use the best of the best like spun gold thread and actual gemstones and other precious materials that would be woven into intricate embroideries. For their mastery of workmanship they were in fact, treated like great artists and were given royal placement often in the House of Lords or bestowed with some other title of noblesse and gernerously compensated. Contemporary couturiers consider each perfection driven garment under their direction to be a statement of prowess of their house. The achievement in creatng a garment that meets the high standards of couture is a source of great pride for those who are aligned with this field of expertise. Like the fineries treasured in all things in life, this level of the garment making is a pleasure to behold. Especially for those who are able to discern the faux from the fine. It is the perfect fit for those that lead iconic lifestyles.
Couture is Understood by Uncovering the Hidden Details
"It's no use just seeking the superficial effect of design. It's no use looking at what others are doing, either. The requisites: to ask yourself constantly just what you are seeking; to be alert to details; to seek perfection in skill; and, above all else, to foster sensitivity. A person who feels nothing when he looks at the sky or at a flower, is a person whose sensitivity is deadened. Such a person has no place in the world of couture. But sensitivity alone is not enough. Perfect skill to bring that sensitivity to creation is needed. Skill, to some extent, can be achieved through diligence, but sensitivity, is something that cannot be acquired through learning."
Spring 2005 Collection
from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette
In the intense "under the microscope" environment that surrounds high fashion, the niche practice of Couture faces the most extreme criticism. A garment constructed under the auspices of haute couture faces the scrutiny of its knowledgeable critics who inspect the finished pieces, by examining the very specific attributes of proper and detail which has impeccability as its litmus of approval. The reputation of a Fashion House and its dozens of highly skilled hands that toil in the atelier can be damaged by overlooking the smallest of errors. You might say that the success of the collection hangs by a thread; particularly a loose one. However, if after passing muster and perfection is appraised, the garment is elevated in it's status, and can be trophied as a work of art. This doesnt come into play for collections destined for the mass market even at the designer label level.