A news snippet featured today in a national newspaper reports that a looky-likey Balmain dress, as worn by Kate Moss, from Asda has sold out in two hours. The £14, 67% viscose, 29% metal-effect fibre and 4% elastane English made dress, is identical to the £8,000 Balmain couture cropped dress with accentuated sleeve detail – if not a little less shinny.
None-the-less, it again raises the question of the future survival of couture houses and the extent of how high-street stores continue to undermine those that support them. For example, would Topman be as successful if Hedi Slimane had not celebrated the androgynous and skinny look, or would Zara not be where it is today without Tom Ford putting cowboys on the runway whilst he was at Gucci?
It may sound bizarre, but I remember the good old days when pret-a-porter was that, and ASOS.com had to wait months to get a look copied from Milan. Yes, it is some what of a public service for retailers to give those less inspired than other’s the opportunity to look good in between the milk aisle and the checkout. Yes, we would not have a thriving fashion industry within the UK with out a bit of creative license, but replicating a look that undermines an already frail industry is not healthy for us all.