Dior at couture week. You may laugh but you'll all be wearing Platonic solids come September. Photo: PA
Haute couture is one of those things that separates a fashionista from her [wonderful but hopelessly non-style-obsessed] friends.
After all, the majority of us can appreciate the need for a pair of trousers that fit well (even if 'well' sometimes means 'sort of') or a pair of shoes we can expect to walk in (ARE YOU LISTENING, LADY GAGA), but it's a small minority who will unblinkingly accept a runway full of models wearing cubes on their heads and enough fabric to wrap the Reichstag twice over*.
If you find yourself in the latter category, put an extra gold star on your fashionista badge and then answer me this: do you ever try to pronounce the word 'haute' or do you wilfully ignore it in favour of a simple 'couture'?
As someone whose tongue actively repels credible foreign accents and pronunciation, any attempt to talk about haute couture with colleagues induces that very dilemma and adds an extra scoop of resentment to my angry metaphorical ice-cream sundae.
What exactly is my problem?
It's as follows: I've just about mastered 'couture', although it generally emerges as "k'cha!" - a lacklustre sneeze, leaving me waiting for a "Bless you?", but 'haute'? No matter how much effort I put in, the reward is always "oat". Occasionally I sound like I'm saying "oat" on 'Allo 'Allo but it's still very much something that belongs in a granary and not on a runway.
And so, until Jean-Paul Gaultier comes up with a line of cereal-based clothing (at which point I will trot out my 'oat couture' and look very much like the pun queen of all that is fashionable) I am left with access to only fifty percent of a fashion phrase and, frankly, this is unacceptable.
*Christo and Jean-Claude reference courtesy of my art history degree