The buzz term floating around fine stationery these days is couture. Mostly in reference to, but not limited to, wedding invitations. Couture is most often thought of as a term for fashion, usually high end designer fashion. One definition of the term is “the design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client’s specific requirements and measurements. “ (Oxford dictionary) Couture Stationery is named as such, in reference to its close similarity in process and final product to modern-day haute couture fashion.
Many of us think Versace or Vera Wang when we hear the name couture. Before couture became linked with designers, however, it meant something original or handmade. A trend that has been evolving over the years is just that… original, handmade and elegant stationery… wedding invitations or mostly complete packages or suites, now labeled “couture”. These invitations are not Louis Vuitton, but they are designed like fashion, by a class of experts in their field who provide their product to a discerning patronage; hence a designer.
The end game of a couture design is to set your stationery or invitation apart from others with a stylish design that is yours alone, on trend, and of the most luxurious quality. It does not need to be absurdly expensive or extravagant, but it does need to captivate.
Typically, artisan luxury stationery and design services are often found in small metropolitan boutiques. There are very few stationers that advertise themselves as couture … and if they did, you can bet they would charge much higher prices. This gives you, the consumer, free range to find and create (with the help of an in- house designer) exactly what you want and within your budget. Couture invitations begin as a blank slate… the paper, the weight, the size; from there the sky is the limit. Next the printing: letterpress along with embossing, thermography ink, metallic foiling and any other methods one can dream up. Added embellishments can include raw silk, textured paper, die-cuts, and gems.
The packaging of the card itself can use stitching, embroidery, lined colorful envelopes water colored by an artist. It’s all about you and your choice of wording, color combo, font, back design, die-cuts, paper, envelope color, and liners… the creativity is endless. Couture stationery, like fashion “is designed to a client’s specific requirements.”
How is couture any different from personalized or custom stationery? First, in order to be couture, an invitation or stationery must possess a highly customized design created from consultations with a one – on – one designer in a studio… face to face or on-line. Second, couture products must have a credible artistic designer and the finished product must bear the mark of the design house, in an artful way.
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