Alexis Mabille, Maison Martin Margiela join haute couture club

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A French commission including existing haute couture labels has awarded both houses the coveted appellation, France’s fashion federation said in a statement ahead of the January 21-24 shows.

Haute couture exists only in Paris, where it is a legally protected appellation subject to strict criteria such as the amount of work carried out by hand, the limited number of pieces and the size of a house’s workforce.

Known for his signature bow-tie motif, Mabille has been showing haute couture collections in Paris as a guest member for the past five years.

“I am beside myself with excitement to receive full Haute Couture status,” he said in a statement. “It recognises the work I do every day, both creatively and in terms of craftsmanship, in collaboration with my atelier and loyal clients.”

Maison Martin Margiela was founded in 1988 by the Belgian designer of the same name. Its founder left in 2009 and the house is now majority owned by Diesel’s Italian owner Renzo Rosso.

The two newcomers take the total number of houses that show under the haute couture label to 17.

Existing club members are France’s Chanel, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Givenchy, Adeline Andre, Christophe Josse, Franck Sorbier and Stephane Rolland, Italians Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Giambattista Valli and Maurizio Galante, Lebanon’s Elie Saab and Brazil’s Gustavo Lins.

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