P.M. BRIEFING : High Fashion Falls on Low Times

Times Wire Services

Leading French fashion house Pierre Balmain, lamenting a shortage of Arab princesses and wives of Texas millionaires, will stop producing haute couture garments.

The Paris fashion house said today that the Persian Gulf crisis and the economic downturn made it impossible for it to keep the costly, individually tailored line going.

“Haute couture is dying. There is no longer the potential for clients like the Arab princesses and the wives of Texan millionaires,” Balmain spokeswoman Laure Chaffanjon said.

Haute couture lines, hand-made by specially trained seamstresses, operate at a huge loss but are seen as intrinsic to the couturier’s artistic identity.