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October 31, 2006

Are You Ready For Coutourism?

A new high-fashion travel trend has women scouring the globe to build one-of-a-kind wardrobes. How far would you go in search of great style?

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Couture Clothes

Photo Credit: Dan Lecca

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THE BORN COUTOURIST
Stephanie Block, 33
Profession: editor-in-chief, TangoDiva.com, an online travel magazine for women

To me, a coutourist is someone who knows the origin of different fashion species, and my mom is the one who pain-stakingly nurtured my raw talents. Her expertise is in textiles and fiber art, and tagging along on trips with her was mind-blowing. I recall digging through piles of antique kimonos at a Tokyo weekend market, learning about color with the bubbling vats of indigo dye at Hiro Shindo's studio, and, in Myanmar, meeting with weaver women outside Rangoon.

Coutourism, then, was simply everyday life -- just like the beginning of human time, when textiles were the domain of women and passed from mothers to their daughters. So, too, my mother taught me that beauty was worth going to the ends of the earth for.

TOP THREE FINDS
1. Luxe leather
The Maybe store, nestled in the heart of pedestrian-only Florida Street in Buenos Aires, is the place to go. You'll feel very dulce de leche in your new leather pants that fit you like, well, your matching custom-made leather gloves.

Maybe Leather Factory
851 Calle Florida
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: +54-11-4312-4781

2. Made-to-order silk suits
Thailand is the birthplace of decadent, delicious silk. It happens to be one of the best places in the world to get tailor-made clothes magically constructed in 24 hours, too. Walk into Venus House at noon, bring a picture of your dream suit, and choose from the reams of textured and rainbow- hued silk. One day and a fitting later, your new suit will be delivered to your hotel room.

Venus House
463/68-69 Lookluang Road
Seeyek Mahanak, Dusit
Bangkok, Thailand 10300
Tel: +66 2-282-5329

3. Colleen Quen cocktail gown
If you ever want to don a gown reminiscent of Princess Di, go here. Colleen wants to know more than your favorite color, style, cut, design, and fabric; she wants to know your obsessions and desires. From that, she'll create a gown that is, in a word, you -- whether "you" is duchesse silk satin, creamy chiffon, or fl owing silk. In a few weeks, you'll have a jaw-dropping master piece you can proudly pass on to your daughter.

Colleen Quen Couture
7 Heron Street
San Francisco, CA
Tel: (415) 551-001


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