Despite the naysayers, the haute couture has continued through credit crunches and international recessions. And good thing too because, as Daphne Guinness has been happy to tell me, “the couture is the laboratory of the fashion arts.” As the shows dwindled off the schedule, we’ve seen other parts of the industry rally: Now in Paris, between couture shows, myself and other editors take time to see the Fine Jewelry appointments (Diamonds! Cartier! Rubies! Van Cleef! Bvlgari!) that we sometimes don’t have time to see during the ready-to-wear shows. Also, many designers show their resort collections, and there is time to see the menswear shows too. (Which reminds me: Christopher Kane and J.W. Anderson, if you’re reading this: My shirts have better been ordered.)

What I find so interesting about the couture shows now is the casting. Here’s some insider info: It’s just not worth it for the big girls to do the couture shows anymore. Unless you’re on an exclusive and flights and boarding are paid for, or else you already live in Paris or are here for a job, the cost of coming to Paris and paying for a nice hotel is more than what you would make walking in the half dozen fashion shows on the schedule. So, if a big girl has two options — one to come to Paris and break even, at best, or do a catalogue job somewhere else — she’s going to take the money and run (as opposed to runway. Har har har.) What this situation has created, however, is an opening on the catwalk for fashion’s new faces to showcase their stuff. Which I think is so ironic because the couture shows really should be the upper echelon of design. So, for many of these girls, it is sink or swim. Figure out how to wear this $100,000 gown or go home.

I asked my friend Douglas Perrett of the blog Confessions of a Casting Director about this phenemonon and he agreed. And he also picked out his favorite new faces from the haute couture shows. Think of it as supermodel tryouts. These are the girls who made the first cut, and I’m looking forward to seeing who will be back for training in the fall. The ready-to-wear fashion shows are just around the corner, ladies. Suit up!

Sasha Luss: Sasha was born in Russia in 1992 but didn’t start modeling until 2007. Her big break came more recently in 2013. The 5’10 model has done campaigns for Chérie ma Chérie, Badilo, Tate, Bohemique & Furla.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2013

Ashleigh Good: Ashley was born in England in 1992 and later moved to New Zealand with her family where she was discovered while waiting at a bus stop on the way to her job at a local coffee shop. Her big moment came when she booked an exclusive for Givenchy in Fall 2012. 

Christian Dior Fall 2013 Couture by Raf Simons

Pauline Hoarau: Pauline was born in Reunion, France in 1994. In 2011 she placed in the top 7 for the World  Finalists at the Elite Model Look Contest. Since then she has been featured on the cover of Elle Italy and Elle France. 

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2013

Kayley Chabot: The 5’11 model was only 13 when she was signed to her first agency. Now, at 17, she has begun to enter the spotlight after walking in critical shows such as Alexander Wang in SS13.

 Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2013 

Nicole Pollard: The 18-year-old model was born in Brisbane, Australia and seems determined to stay connected to her home country despite making it big elsewhere. Her first modeling experience came during Sydney Fashion Week in 2011. In 2012 she was named the face of Perth Fashion Week. On a much larger scale, she has scored two exclusives with Dior- including Raf Simons much-anticipated first collection in FW12. More recently she has appeared in the SS13 Dior campaign. 

Armani Privé Haute Couture Fall 2013   

Elizabeth Erm: The Estonian 5’10 model was born in Tartu in 1993. She was discovered at the age of 17 at a local mall. Her breakout came in FW13 when she opened for Lacoste.

Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2013

Tessa Bennenbroek: This 6’0 Dutch stunner is both new and mysterious. After a playing a pivotal roll during the haute couture season in the likes of such legendary designers as Elie Saab, Versace, and Armani, we are sure to be seeing a lot of Tessa. 

Atelier Versace Haute Couture Fall 2013 


with additional reporting from Caroline Mason