Facts about Haute Couture

Now that the latest SS08 couture fashion week has wrapped up, I shall give a little background information about what’s so Haute about couture.

The birth of couture
It began in 1858, when then-famous English designer Charles Frederic Worth’s work involved one-of-a-kind high-end pieces that are exquisite in details, expensive in fabric and exclusive in custom-fitting. The term Haute Couture, which means “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” in French, was created and it slowly became the ultimate lust for all fashionable women and a  well-defined standard for luxury.

The criterias of couture
Haute Couture is like a membership club. The rules and regulations needed for a house to be included in this ‘club’ are protected by law and they are:
1) A studio in Paris with 15 full-time employees and participate in the couture fashion week each season. Presentation of the collection to the Paris press must comprise at least thirty-five runs with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.
2) At least 75 pieces of work (including none-clothing items) have to be designed by the chief designer.
3) Every single piece has to be limited in quantity and handmade.
4) Design made-to-order for private clients, with a few fittings.

The statistics of couture
Approximately 500 fashionable women in this world are able to afford and become regular customers of Haute Couture.
A piece of couture clothing needs about 100 hours to complete. For those with embroideries, it takes around 1000 hours.
A couture gown needes around 50 people to complete.

The reasons for creating couture
Though rarely sold, it is created to enhance the prestige of the house and keeps the magic of artistic fashion alive.

Fashion houses that were once official Haute Couture members

Guy Laroche
Emilio Pucci
Nina Ricci
Yves Saint Laurent
Pierre Balmain
Emanuel Ungaro

Maybe falling revenues have forced them to abandon their less profitable couture line and they preferred to concentrate mainly on the less prestigious ready-to-wear division. But recently, news have it that sales are up. Check out WWD’s article “No End to the Excess: Couture Houses Say The Party Plan Is On”.

sources: wikipedia, WWD

  • http://www.fashion-networks.com Kartik


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    Fashion Evangelist
    We Blog at http://fashionnetworking.blogspot.com

  • Aaron

    Nina Ricci and Lanvin should be given couture house status again!

  • sophie

    very interesting information

  • http://non mahmooda ashley

    hi i m mahmooda ashley fashion designer from india i love to read about houte couture fashion past current future like to read the criteries of coture hip chak de india

  • http://non mahmooda ashley

    i m the next designer