I stumbled across this photo taken during Paris fashion week 1951 a few weeks ago. It's not that it a particularly beautiful photo. It has no pretty model in some gorgeous dress of the past nor was it shot by some famous photographer as far as I am aware. Nope the photo is compelling to me because it represents something that we are rapidly losing. Just settle in and really look at it for a moment longer then normal and think past the visual. Three women are sitting at a table working on one single panel of a dress. The pattern lines are done in chalk so were hand applied and then the cloth cut by hand. Each sequin and bead is being hand placed and sewn with a needle and thread. The only "mass production" here is perhaps in the hint of a notion of efficiency by having three women work on it at once rather than one.
How many hours do you think this dress took to make? How many other people not in the photo also have spent, or will spend time on this dress? It is mind boggling if you think about it. Unless you can afford modern day couture, how could you possibly ever even hope to even see something like this in person, or hold it in your hands? Almost none of us on the planet will unless you turn to vintage. A dress made in this manner nowadays by a couture house would easily be over 6 figures. That is the $100,000 mark people. And yet you can find hand beaded dresses from the past, in varying degrees of price that even at very the high end of the vintage couture options, would rarely get you anywhere near a tenth of that number. Even if you happened to find the very dress that those three women worked on. It is just mind-blowing.
Pictures like this are part and parcel of why I do what I do. The best is the best whether you find it from the past or the present. Don't accept less.
Have a vintage couture filled day
I believe the photo to be of the Dior atelier but am not 100% on that.
If you know the original source please feel free to share with us.