couture round-up: under the radar designers

Here are our favourite under-the-radar houses that discreetly push the frontiers and refuse to make mere princess dresses.

by Alice Pfeiffer
Jan 29 2015, 10:40am

To most of us, haute couture week is a distant happening we're likely to never enjoy as a customer. The small(ish) presentations of garments, mostly gowns, are designed to appeal to the ultra rich, light-years away from daily urban grit, and survive on only selling a few dresses per season. Nevertheless, the exquisite made-to-measure artistry is vital for another reasons: in a time of fast fashion, each maison keeps alive a dying practice of craftsmanship and atelier-sized know-how. 

On Aura Tout Vu
Although the house has been around for a while, it is better known for its wildly theatrical pieces. Its universe - a sort of twisted fairytale with a hint of revisited, cheeky Tim Burton— has caught the attention of an array of performers: past collaborations include the Moulin Rouge, stage costumes for Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga or Conchita

Photography Mitchell Sams

Yiqing Yin
The Franco-Chinese designer masters an airy, discreetly complex art of pleats and drapes - always feminine, never girly. The young, drown-down-dead elegant woman prides herself on a method that mixes couture practice and 'voluntary accidents'. She recently dressed actress Audrey Tautou as well as Natalia Vodianova for a Guerlain film, and collaborated with Lancôme.

Photography courtesy Yiqing Yin

The Dutch designer feels couture isn't about practicality but ought to be treated as a creative hub, a place for discovery. After designing costumes for The Hunger Games, his latest collection delves further into a surreal journey, which is playfully inspired by action heroines and Antiquity fashion.

Photography courtesy Jantaminiau

Dice Kayek
Season after season, Turkish designer Ece Ege tries to find a new space for what she describes as "modern romanticism", both feminine and eccentric. She achieves this by games of construction and deconstruction, pleats, twists, clashes - architectural and, most recently, referencing both traditional Turkish culture and French artist Annette Messager as well as Louise Bourgeois.

Photography courtesy Dice Kayek

Round Up
dice kayek
on aura tout vu
under the radar designers
yiqing yin