第一篇Making a Loss Is the Height of Fashion
Given that a good year in the haute couture(高级定制女装)business is one where you lose even more money than usual, the prevailing mood in Paris last week was sensational.The big-name designers were faIIing over themselves to boast of how many outfits they had sold at below cost price，and how this proved that the fashion business was healthier than ever.Jean—Paul Gaultier reported record sales。“but we don’t make any money out of it，’，t the designer assured journalists backstage.“No maker how successful you are，you can’t make a profit from couture，”explained Jean—Jacques Picart, a veteran fashion PR man，and co—founder of the now—bankrupt Lacroix house.
Almost 20 years have passed since the unusual economics of the couture business were first exposed.Outraged that he was Losing money on evening dresses costing tens of thousands of pounds，the couturier Jean-Louis Scherrer published of his costs.One outfit he described curtained over half a mile of gold thread，1 8，000sequins(亮片)，and had required hundreds of hours of hand—stitching in an atelier(制作室).A fair price would have been~50，000，but the couturier could only get~35。000 for it.Rather than riding high on the foolishness of the super—rich，he and his team could barely feed their hungry families.
The result was an outcry and the first of a series of government-and industry—sponsored inquiries into the surreal(超现实的)world of ultimate fashion.The trade continues to insist that couture offers you more than you pay for，but it’s not as simple as that.When such a temple of old wealth starts talking about value for money。it isn’t to convince anyone that dresses costing as much as houses are a bargain.Rather，it is to preserve the peculiar mystique(神秘)，lucrative(利润丰厚的)associations and threatened interests that couture represents.
Essentially，the arguments couldn’t be simpler.On one side are those who say that the business will die if it doesn’t change. On the other are those who say it will die if it is highly dated. Huge in its costs，tiny in its clientele and questionable in its influence，it still remains one of the great themes of Parisian life.In his book, The Fashion Conspiracy, Nicholas Coleridge estimates that the entire couture industry rests on the whims(一时兴起)of less than 30 immensely wealthy women，and although the number may have grown in recent years with the new prosperity of Asia, the number of couture customers worldwide is no more than 4.000.
To qualify as couture, a garment must be entirely handmade by one of the 11 Paris couture houses registered to the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.Each house must employ at least 20 people.and show a minimum of 75 new designs a year.So far,so traditional.but the Big Four operators——Chanel，Dior,Givenchy and Gaultier—increasingly use couture as a marketing device for their far more profitable ready—to—wear，fragrance and accessory lines.
31. What is the main idea of the first paragraph?
A. The haute couture business is expanding quickly.
B. The haute couture designers make much profit in their sales.
C. The haute couture businessmen are happy with their profit.
D. The haute couture designers claim losses in their sales.
32. According to the second paragraph, Jean-Louis Scherrer
A. was in a worse financial position than other couturiers.
B. was very angry as he was losing money.
C. was one of the best-know couturiers.
D. stopped producing haute couture dresses.
33. The writer says that the outfit Jean-Louis Scherrer described
A. was worth the price that was paid for it.
B. cost more to make than it should have.
C. was never sold to anyone.
D. should have cost the customer than it did.
34. The writer says in Paragraph 4 that there is disagreement over
A. the history of haute couture.
B. the future of haute couture.