What Is Haute Couture.
Haute couture is French and simply translates to high sewing; it is a creation of exclusive custom fitted clothing that is constructed by hand from start to finish.
Haute couture is made from high quality expensive, often unusual and beautiful fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail.
It is finished by the most experienced and capable sewers, often using time consuming, hand executed techniques.
Haute couture can be referenced back as early as the 17th Century. Rose Bertin, the French fashion designer to Queen Marie Antoinette.
Rose Bertin is credited for bringing fashion and haute couture to French culture. Visitors to Paris brought back clothing that was then copied by local dressmakers. Stylish women also ordered dresses in the latest Parisian fashion to serve as templates or samples.
Making Haute Couture.
A couturier is an establishment or person involved in the clothing fashion industry who makes original garments to order for private clients.
A couturier usually hires patternmakers and machinists for garment production, and is either employed by exclusive boutiques or is self-employed.
The couturier Charles Frederick Worth (1825–1895), is widely considered the father of haute couture, Although born in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England, Worth made his mark in the French fashion industry.
Revolutionizing how dressmaking had been previously perceived, Worth made it so the dressmaker became a fashion designer.
While he created his unique designs to please some of his wealthy customers, he is best known for preparing a portfolio of designs that were shown on live models at the House of Worth. Clients selected one model, specified colours and fabrics, and had a duplicate garment tailor-made in Worth’s workshop. Worth combined tailoring with the characteristic of the ready-to-wear clothing industry, which was also developing during this period.
Following in Worth’s footsteps were Callot Soeurs, Patou, Poiret, Vionnet, Fortuny, Lanvin, Chanel, Mainbocher, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, and Dior. Some of these fashion houses still exist today, under the leadership of modern designers.
In order to call yourself Haute Couture you have to abide by some rules that has been set by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
- design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
- have a workshop/ atelier in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time.
- have at least twenty full-time technical people, in at least one workshop/atelier.
- present a collection of at least fifty original designs to the public every fashion season (twice, in January and July of each year), of both day and evening garment
For all these fashion houses, custom clothing is no longer the main source of income, often costing much more than it earns through direct sales.
Excessive commercialization and profit-making can be damaging, however. Cardin, for example, licensed with abandon in the 1980s and his name lost most of its fashionable cachet when anyone could buy Cardin luggage at a discount store. It is their ready-to-wear collections that are available to a wider audience, adding a splash of glamour and the feel of haute couture to more wardrobes.
Fashion houses will create custom clothing for publicity, for example providing items to the television show Gossip Girl or lending them to artist on the red carpet and on award shows.
Haute Couture is literally wearable art, its a way to express yourself as designer/ artist but the wearer has a piece that is unique making the wearer feel special.