#31 – Couture

23 11 2009

The term “haute couture” is French for “high sewing”, and has for 150 years referred to exclusive tailored Parisian clothing. Somewhere along the way, the abbreviated version of the term gained favour, with “couture” custom-fitted clothing being produced in fashion capitals such as New York, Milan, London, and Tokyo. Recently, the bogan has become aware of the prestige cachet of couture, and it wants in.

A decade ago, some forward-thinking clothing companies identified the ability of the couture concept to fleece buckets of cash out of the bogan female who wanted to feel an affiliation with high fashion. In order to neatly package the idea for the bogan though, there needed to be an anglicising “zazzing up” of the term, similar to the “All Berry Blast” beverage at Boost Juice. Ironically, the first major example that appeared was “Juicy Couture”, an American label that sold mass-produced velour tracksuits at department stores. The “couture” term allowed an astounding price premium to be applied, and the endorsement of Madonna cemented the brand at the top of the new female bogan “want” list.

The cat was out of the bag; the new way to double the amount that a bogan was willing to pay for clothing was to incorporate the C word into the brand name, and the potential to pitch to the bogan male also became apparent. The actual meaning of the term had been completely lost by this point, and the bogan just interpreted it to mean “fancy”. The increasingly chronic boganisation of the term has continued through to the present day. Low quality “fight branded” clothing for bogan thugs now even contains the word “couture” plastered across it (in reference to a wrestler), in a font that makes them feel like they have Ben Cousins’ Ned Kelly slogan tattoo across their stomachs.

At this point, the bogan male is able to enter the nightclub in his “XTREME COUTURE” gear, which eloquently portrays his nuanced understanding of his embodiment of not only brutal power, but the refinement of 19th century bespoke Parisian tailoring.


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41 responses

23 11 2009
shazza

The sight of a she-bogan with a faux Chanel handbag is a confounding thing. I imagine Karl Largerfeld had bogans in mind when he recently made comment about fat mums resenting skinny models.

23 11 2009
Anonymous Bosch

The myth of Australia being a classless society means Bogans don’t understand what being Upper Class actually is. Their idea of ‘Classy’ is only informed by Celebrity, hence the belief that attending the Melbourne Cup requires a Brazilian Wax and Orange Skin.

Class is simply reduced to being a Consumer Purchase. They’re not buying a Chanel Handbag: they’re purchasing an inflated sense of personal importance, a highly-visible sign of living an extravagant lifestyle, mainly for the higher status they believe displaying possessing this item gives you over others, which they then slam against the outside wall of a nightclub as they daintily puke around their stilettos.

Basically, they’re following the example of Celebrity White Trash With Money, like the Beckhams. Faux-gans, one and all.

23 11 2009
Tone

‘Xtreme Couture’ sounds like a splinter group from the Extreme Ironing movement. I’d love to see one of these Xtreme Couture aficionados attempt to sew a button onto a shirt whilst freefalling from 30,000ft.

23 11 2009
Indi

Interesting that actual couture is hand ‘cut’ ( that’s what the word means in French), fitted and made to suit a particular body. By most estimates, there are under a thousand women globally who are rich enough and the right shape to have this done by name designers. Nothing could be further from the badly, cut cheaply made and generally shapeless garments bearing the word ‘couture’ described in this article. But without the diffusion lines and handbags and fragrances, the couture business model doesn’t work, that’s why the fakes are so bitterly resented. So Shazza, the fake handbage is all part of the wonder of fashion, if the bottom feeding part.

If you have Ben Cousin’s stomach, you can wear whatever you like. Sadly, having the tattoo won’t give you the abs.

The term couture meaning ‘cutting of a garment’ does highlight a particularly public epidemic of dysmorphia- people who don’t know what to wear for their body shapes. There’s either some very strange mirrors in fitting rooms or some great salespeople, or people assume the garment, like the tattoo will give the body they saw it on.

23 11 2009
shazza

When a bogette wears a pair of Target jeans, a Jeans West top, Betts shoes, and a fake Chanel bag, I don’t see wonder, I see an attempt to embrace a look clearly beyond their reach. I find faux designer products, be they LV, Chanel, or watches such as Rolex, sad.

Isn’t the value of corture the fact it is unattainable for the masses?

23 11 2009
Indi

Well, the high-end stuff is not intended for street wear, and is modified fo the end client, if it ever is chosen by one of the. It’s essentially window dressing to the fragnace and accessory businesses.

But, there used to people who made their own clothes, or had their clothes made for them by local tailors (spelling!!!) & dressmakers. So you could get something that was unique, fitted you well, and could have been a copy of the latest style, which didn’t give t you muffin tops or pinch your boobs. Buth that would requiire a re-invention beyond the imagination of mass consumers. because no-one else woudl be telling them to do it. It’s the poverty of the imagination rather than th eoutward show which is saddest.

23 11 2009
shazza

I did always think of high end fashion as art in clothing, but never as a clever marketing strategy. Indi, you have taught me something today. Thankyou.

23 11 2009
Indi

Nah wukkas.

It’s a kind of diversion, you’re shown what you could never have – Alexander MacQueen’s shoes frinstance- in real life, and come away with the belt/bag/fragrance/scarf as a consolationprize. John Galliano also notoriously sends models out with easily sold singlets and tops wrapped around their heads or as armlets so he can say they were in the couture show. Sort of haute Bananarama or Hayzee Fantayzee.

24 11 2009
Sam

I read an interesting book on this topic last year. It was a bit of an eye opener and confirmed my dislike of this industry:

“Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster”

23 11 2009
Indi

Well, the high-end stuff is not intended for street wear, and is modified fo the end client, if it ever is chosen by one of the. It’s essentially window dressing to the fragnace and accessory businesses.

But, there used to people who made their own clothes, or had their clothes made for them by local tailors (spelling!!!) & dressmakers. So you could get something that was unique, fitted you well, and could have been a copy of the latest style, which didn’t give t you muffin tops or pinch your boobs. Buth that would requiire a re-invention beyond the imagination of mass consumers. because no-one else woudl be telling them to do it. It’s the poverty of the imagination rather than the outward show which is saddest.

28 11 2009
brad

go tiges

23 11 2009
Alex

Eesh, you kind of fucked up on this one. “Xtreme Couture” is the name of the gym owned by famous (in America) mixed martial artist Randy “The Natural” Couture.

Those Affliction shirts ARE horrible, but I’m afraid that “Xtreme Couture” has nothing to do with the couture you’re talking about.

Think the bogan knows that? – TBL

23 11 2009
Alex

heh, fair point

24 11 2009
A

I would suggest that the bogan does know this. The Bogan has a propensity for violence and spectator-ship. Randy Couture is perhaps one of the most recognizable faces in the Mixed Martial Arts world, being 5 times UFC champion and still fighting at age 46.

The Bogan may not know what Couture means, but even the bogan would know that in the context of an Affliction T-shit, Xtreme Couture is his gym in Las Vegas.

23 11 2009
berihebi

It’s not cheap being a bogan these days.

23 11 2009
Paul Keating

What we’re all talking about here is the product of an image obsessed society which values style over substance any day. Bogans have been sold a line by corporate interests, supported by government, that you don’t need to get educated, or even have an idea in your head. All you have to do is discriminately purchase ‘things’ endorsed by celebrities, and you’ve attained.

It’s deceptively easy to fall prey to this all consuming corporate machine, especially if your education system doesn’t teach or value critical thinking, because you can buy New Weekly and discover the ‘rules’ for living- wear the XTREME COUTURE shirt and you’re a fashionsita, get the tribal tattoo and you’re more macho, buy the Mcmansion on credit and you’re wealthy) The last thing they want bogans doing is questioning the fundamental assumptions about the pitiful lives people lead through shopping malls, directed by FM radio shock jocks, living in the suburban wasteland that Australian cites are becoming.

It’s actually considered elitist (a word that’s bad unless you’re talking about elite sports) to think that any one thing is better than any other. “You think you’re better than me?”

When everything has equal value to everything else, where nothing is considered more worthy than any other thing, it actually means that everything is crap.

23 11 2009
Saunders

Brilliant. My sentiments and exact thoughts about Australian culture at present. The gross sell out of the australian lifestyle and the focus on “being stupid is king” and “go spend spend spend” by our government and foreign interest is saddening.

23 11 2009
Tone

Now I remember why I voted for you in ’96!

23 11 2009
Indi

But the point of buying all this stuff IS to establish that you are better than someone else, or at lest just like everyone esle you’d like to be like.

23 11 2009
SB of Brizzvegas

How about schoolie’s? Yes, I understand that many nogans (non-bogans) enjoy partaking on the annual pilgrimage to the Gold Coast, but why do all news reports covering the event display images of skanks and boy bogues?

23 11 2009
Stephanie

I love that bogans think if the word couture is crudely printed on something, it must be high end. I must find an iron, a printer and some transfer paper to run a ‘couture’ business in my garage. I’ll even put a Southern Cross on it so bogans will embrace it even more… maybe some frangapanis.

23 11 2009
Paul Keating

Exactly my point. They buy ‘couture’ at Westfield to project the image of success and wealth, but would think someone’s a fool, a sucker or an inner city wanker for paying over $2000 for an italian handmade suit that will last a lifetime.

The hilarious thing is that they piss their baby bonuses up the wall to appear high class, but really they buy nothing of any real worth, don’t recognise the value of anything, and are being lined up like lambs to the slaughter when the GFC finally rips through this country too- don’t believe the hype, it’s coming, and it’ll wash through bogan suburbs like a flash flood. In the end, they’ll blame someone else, because they only followed the rules of success laid down by homemaker shows and whatever infomercial Delta Goodrem is flogging this week.

23 11 2009
Stephanie

Well said.

Sometimes I have flashes of empathy (I do have my bogan football supporter moments) and then feel bad for feeling so superior to said bogans. Then I realise it’s crossed the line and all I can do is laugh and shake my head in disgust.

23 11 2009
Paul

How about an article on silly middle class girls buying fake LV bags?

Ok, so they’re not lower class trash wanting to be middle class, but it is symptomatic of the logic of the bogan. The purchase of an ugly, poxy bag purchases and conveys a halo of social legitimacy and desirability.

And people who are silly enough to buy the real thing -ugh. LV is tacky, real or otherwise.

23 11 2009
Tony D

That’s not just a bogan thing. LV’s biggest market is Asia (especially Japan), after all. You’re practically born with an LV purse in your hands there.

23 11 2009
Paul Keating

It’s the cheap airline situation. The modern bogan wants to project an image of being Kate Moss’ BFF, so jumps on a cheap airline to some ‘exotic’ locale like Bali, or Hanoi or Vanuatu, with her faux fashion handbag. Doesn’t realise that the likes of Kate Moss, who she is trying to imitate, wouldn’t be seen dead in the kind of places she frequents, and with the people we’re describing.

Like people who buy a holiday home on the coast to appear like a rich person, until they realise that the truly rich don’t need to go to the same shitty place every year on holiday to justify the expense.

In reality, they are casting themselves in their own set of LV advertisments, with themselves as the model. These are the set of iconic aspirational images that these poor saps have grown up with, and have no response to other than blind imitation.

This is referenced by every blondey bogan’s facebook profile pic, sitting in the sunset, sipping a cocktail, clutching the LV bag, with the Peter Andre lookalike bogan guy in the background. They don’t realise that they are being suckered into consumerist hell, without end..

23 11 2009
Simon

Paul,

Didn’t you start all this when you were PM?

23 11 2009
Paul Keating

Certainly not. The Industrial reforms of the late 80’s were about increasing wages by increasing productivity, and using the union movement to get capital to recognise that they need to share the wealth brought about by productivity increasing. This lead to the largest extended period of postwar prosperity for this country.

It was Howard, with his cynical ploy to his ‘battlers’, that kept wages low, education expensive, protected Bradman as some kind of sacred cultural institution and tricked everyone into thinking their houses and reproductive organs are cash machines that brought about the cashed up bogans. This generated a culture, closely following the UK and US, where getting something for nothing was the most desirable outcome for the individual.

23 11 2009
Simon

Paul,

Just my point, by increasing wages and talking about sharing the wealth the bogan began to realise that there was more to life than Winnies and VB. You then sent the country broke so it simply remained a seed planted in their head until Howard made the money flow and the bogan cashed up, leading to the societal problems we have today.

23 11 2009
Indi

Keating gave us Stuart Callender and Geoffrey Tozer, Howard, Warnie and Leyton.

23 11 2009
Paul Keating

Nice little turn of phrase there, Simon “Share the wealth”, with it’s socialist connotations. But are you suggesting that those reforms (which certainly led to the recession that we had to have for a brief amount of time) shouldn’t have happened? We shouldn’t have floated the dollar, but instead kept it pegged to the USD like the Chinese? Should we not have reduced tariffs (making your beloved luxury goods actually cheaper)? Should we still have wage fixing?

“Sharing the wealth” had nothing to do with a socialised anything, and everything to do with lifting wages on the back of Australia’s real prosperity. Of forcing the owners of capital to recognise the skills and hard work of their employees. Not just keeping people stupid on minimum wage, and inflating their houses so they FEEL rich, even though they are actually poorer.

I suppose the first home buyer grant was enough to keep Howard in for a while, and was the one of the largest socialism-in-disguise programs ever laid on by a conservative government. Which people loved because they felt rich for once. Which distorted the price of those fibro shacks that bogans sell each other out in Sunshine, Hawkesbury, Southport and the other bogan heartland suburbs. Which gave them the money to allude to wealth, for a little while at least. I hope they’ve enjoyed it.

And you thought this blog was about bad haircuts, VB and flannos.

1 12 2009
Right and proud

Hey Paul,

Have you read the book ‘Affluenza’ by Clive Hamilton? I think you would find it quite relevent to your posts on this subject so far.

23 11 2009
Fiona of Toorak

LOL. More than any other action the bogan has taken, this has broken my heart.

23 11 2009
Paul Keating

Handbags, tibetan artwork, ‘couture’ fashion- they are all signifiers. Where marketing and advertising has got us in the last 30 years is to trick people into thinking that these useless objects are actually the things they signify. So having couture splashed across some crappy tshirt is the same as being so rich that you can afford custom made clothing. It’s got even more crazy so that now you can buy a fake reproduction of faking that you are rich.

I’m all for aspiration, meaning I’m all for someone educating themselves, starting a business, being successful so that they become rich, then they can waste their money on whatever they like. But that takes hard work, sacrifice and a little smarts (but mostly just hard work).

Thinking that you give the appearance of being rich by carrying a reproduction of a reproduction of the effects of being rich, well that’s just a little stupid, which is why it comes under such ridicule here.

24 11 2009
Kathy

To be honest, fashion is something that was always going to appeal to bogans. It’s not like you have to have taste – you just need a little advice and to be thin for most of it.

25 11 2009
Fail_post

Wow ripping on Bogans for trying to act French/sophisticated, and then completely screwing up with your Pièce de résistance! As has been said Randy “The Natural” Couture is a mixed martial artist, he can’t help that his last name is Couture. Xtreme Couture is the name of his gym in Las Vegas, it’s not a statement about high fashion.

No argument that Affliction shirts are tacky and most definitely the domain of the redneck/hardass/bogan, but still get your facts straight.

You’ll see we’ve already mentioned in the entry that Randy Couture is a wrestler, and other commenters have already covered all of the details you’ve offered. Not sure why you bothered with the first half of that rant. TBL

13 12 2009
Concerned Citizen

But he’s NOT a wrestler!! UFC fighting is not wrestling!! It’s real!!

15 01 2010
John Vardanega

Indeed he isn’t and the UFC is of course a legitimate (in the sense of being genuine contact and not predetermined, irrespective of whether you believe guys belting each other up constitutes a “legitimate” activity) mixed martial arts sport.

TBL would do well to drop the air of smugness, at least for for a moment on this one, and realise that Wikipedia snaffling serves as a poor substitute for real-world education.

21 01 2010
mlambie

… pretty much what John said.

But one minor point, that Randy actually is a wrestler (Greco-Roman, not “professional”) as well as a mixed martial artist. Randy was an alternate three times for the American Olympic wrestling team well before he stepped into the Octagon.

12 11 2010
Mel

Paul Keating, I love you, fake or not. In fact, the bogan in me would like to carry around a fake you just for the prestige factor.

13 02 2011
Nate

Man you have no idea what you are talking about. “haute couture”? Gimme a break! If you want to systematically slag off each and every thing in the world at least get it right. Idiot.

Ok, flossum. How about you correct us instead of just having a tantrum. TBL

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