The History of Haute Couture

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Learn the history of haute couture from its conception to modern haute couture fashion shows. This is the story of high fashion and how it has evolved.

The History of Haute Couture

The word 'haute' means high, in the sense of high-class. 'Couture' refers primarily to designers or courturiers and dressmaking that's made to order.

Together 'haute couture' is high fashion from the top designers in the world. This means the finest materials and most precise and intricate craftsmanship.

Each piece is tailored specifically to the client and created by hand down to the finest details. Price is not an object as these pieces are seen as fashion art from the most skilled inidividuals.

Currently, fashion designers have to fulfil a specific list of requirements to use the term 'haute couture'. The tradition, however, began some time ago.

Haute Couture History

Charles Frederick Worth revolutionised the role of fashion designers within the industry. He is known as the Father of Haute Couture.

The House of Worth was founded in 1858 and his salon in Paris attracted nobility including royalty. There their garments were fitted making it a prestigious society locale.

He was the first to both show his clothing on models, create a lookbook of sorts and sew labels into his clothing. This set the fashion designer as someone to be admired and lifted thier status as a whole.

Fashion houses followed in his footsteps and several still exist today such as Chanel, Dior and Lanvin. Likewise, the 1960s saw a second wave with designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin.

Post-millennium also saw some new additions like Jean-Paul Gaultier but then came some hardship. Versace, for example, stopped creating haute couture for several years.

The height and opulence of haute couture is hard to maintain as many designers have seen. Although, its strength and potency continue to this day.

Haute Couture Fashion Today

Today fashion houses must meet specific guidelines as set and checked byChambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris. This includes a seizeable atelier based in Paris.

Now, fashion brands make the majority of their income from handbags and beauty products which has called into question the place of haute couture. It, however, continues to be strongly influential over fashion trends and the industry.

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Weeks take place in Paris in January and July of every year. Continuing the tradition of models showcasing the attire.

They include clothing for the following season in order to give designers the time to create the pieces. Often, this includes astounding dresses that will adorn the red carpet as well as luxurious wedding gowns.

Social media has allowed for greater access to viewing haute couture fashion shows. This has allowed the spectacle to grow in size and influence.

Haute Couture remains an institution of the top fashion houses in the industry and it seems as if it is here to stay.

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(Main image from Harper's Bazaar)