They said pret-a-porter will kill your name, and it saved me. – Pierre Cardin
In France, the term haute couture is a protected term. To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term haute couture in its advertising and any other way, members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture must follow explicit rules.
If it were possible to protect the term giclee, more fine artists might use it. ~ Elizabeth Saab Couture
When it comes to what to do about the abuse of the term giclee, the adage “Don’t bother closing the barn door after the cow is gone” applies to how giclee is used.
If you will pardon the pun, it’s spilled milk, so let’s not debate the issue. I see a trend where some artists and giclee printers have stopped using the word, but this is difficult since it has passed in the lexicon of the average art buyer.
I suppose some artists will find the idea of comparing giclee prints to pret-a-porter offensive, which is okay. If you are not ruffling someone’s feathers with an opinion, you are not adding anything interesting to the conversation. Besides, its just as likely the comparison will add a new, positive outlook on using reproductions. Your choice.
The comparison to me is valid. Haute couture is about the one-of-a-kind original garments made with creativity and to the highest standards. Indeed, all self-respecting artists commit to such standards when they create their original works.
Nearly all the world’s top fashion designers also create ready-to-wear [pret-a-porter] work for the masses who cannot afford original designs made and hand-tailored specifically for them. It seems visual artists should be just as confident in using fine art digital reproductions to help them reach collectors who do not have the budget for their originals.
Selling giclee prints of your work is not a cure for original art that is not selling. However, if you find your work sells when seen by enough of the right buyers, then you are a serious candidate to start adding giclee prints into the selection of what you offer to customers.
Besides being able to provide sizes your customer wants, and make unlimited copies (assuming you do not go down the path of limited editions), you also open the prospects of your work being picked up in the licensing, hospitality, design and healthcare markets. There are numerous examples of artist entrepreneurs who have become wealthy and well known through their involvement in these markets.
I am not suggesting that adding to giclees to what you sell will save your business as pret-a-porter did for Pierre Cardin. It might not need saving. Giclee prints will broaden your product line, give your work more price points, introduce your work to new customers, and more.