First Glimpse

Striking design strokes, from playing cards to shoes to the kitchen sink

ABOUT HAUTE

Like a fox crossing a busy street, haute couture survives when by any measure it shouldn't. It's excessive in a time of frugality. It's celebratory when war looms. How can CEOs defend hand embroidery and expensive models to shareholders? Quite easily, it seems. Days before its January show featuring models swamped in giant brocade kimonos, Christian Dior announced sales were up 50%. Not of kimonos but of shoes and bags and sunglasses, bought by those wowed by the couture. And then there's Chanel, where the more wearable couture created by Karl Lagerfeld reportedly turns a profit. Women who pay...

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