The Art of Couture

The time-honored tradition of Haute Couture has always been close to Austin Scarlett’s heart. His atelier in the heart of New York City is the birth place of Austin’s glamorous creations. There he and his team develop and construct his designs from start to finish. The way from initial inspiration to the final fitting is a long journey of creativity, innovation, precision and technique.


For Austin, inspiration can stem from anywhere.

The clouds of the sky, the waves of the sea, the lilies of the field, the wings of the dove, or the miraculous tracings of a spider’s web.  The flowing draperies of the ancients, the gorgeous silks of the East, the refined frivolity of the 18th century, and the glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  Great beauties of history such as Helen of Troy, Cleopatra and Empress Elizabeth of Austria.


The process of draping is when Austin develops his design from a vision in his mind into a three-dimensional reality, and is one of his favorite phases of the design process.  Working with muslin and pins on a dressmaker’s mannequin, a wearable sculpture comes to life.  The outline of a particular silhouette is established and built up from there.  If a design involves volume or has an outline that stands away from the body, each layer of the dress is engineered one by one until the desired effect is achieved.  Any internal structure must be decided upon and shaped to perfection.  Each pleat and fold is formed by Austin’s hand, every flounce placed with the utmost sensitivity.  Proportions are refined and each design is worked and reworked with the goal of creating the most beautiful, flattering and perfect dress possible.


Rich Satins from Italy, flowing silks from Japan, ethereal tulles from France, delicate laces from Belgium. Austin selects the finest and most beautiful fabrics from around the world to use in making his creations.


The glamorous shimmer of beadwork, the trembling fragility of a hand-shaped silk blossom, the dramatic gesture of a sculptured bow, or the sheer romance of an appliqued lace frill-- details give each dress its own unique personality.  As with every part of his designs, embellishments are painstakingly executed by hand.  Hand painting on silk, or creating his own fabric of individually cut petals, Austin’s love of combining age-old techniques with an artist’s creativity can be seen in the details of his gowns.  Some designs with an innovative fabric treatment or particularly elaborate embroidery can take years to develop.


The sewing of Austin’s dresses begins only once every detail has been fine tuned.

Every gown is made to order, one by one, just for you.

Strapless dresses each include a built-in corset or bustier, where the individual curves of the wearers figure is molded to create a flattering, streamlined contour and feeling of embracing support that can only be achieved through a meticulously structured foundation.

Upon its foundation, the dress is arranged and stitched using a combination of techniques like French seams, hand-tacked drapings, appliqué, and steam molding. Ballgown hems are turned with horsehair braid and finished by minute hand stitches. 

Silk chiffons and organzas are given finely rolled baby hems.

Inside and out, Austin's designs display the beauty and technical perfection that embody the art of couture.