At a recent Haute Couture event in London, it occurred to me how loosely the term is being used within the world of fashion. How can you tell if it is really Haute Couture?
Haute Couture What Does It Mean
It is a French name for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” or “high fashion”. It refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is fashion that is constructed by hand from start to finish, made from high quality, expensive, often unusual fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable sewers, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques.
Couture translates literally from French as “dressmaking”, but may also refer to fashion, sewing, or needlework and is also used as a common abbreviation of haute couture and refers to the same thing in spirit. Haute translates literally to “high”. A haute couture garment is often made for a client, tailored specifically for the wearer’s measurements and body stance. Considering the amount of time, money, and skill that is allotted to each completed piece, haute couture garments are also described as having no price tag – in other words, budget is not relevant.
In modern France, haute couture is a protected name that can be used only by firms that meet certain well-defined standards. However, the term is also used loosely to describe all high-fashion custom-fitted clothing, whether it is produced in Paris or in other fashion capitals such as London, Milan, New York or Tokyo. (Wikipedia)
Haute Couture Strict Regulations
To be called a haute couture house, a business must belong to the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture in Paris, which is regulated by the French Department of Industry.
Members must employ 15 or more people and present their collections twice a year. Each presentation must include at least 35 separate outfits for day and eveningwear.
The syndicate has about 18 members, including such fashion giants as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Pierre Cardin. The houses generate more than $1 billion in annual sales and employs close to 5,000 people, including 2,200 seamstresses. Workers often specialize in one area, such as feathers, fabric, buttons, shoes, etc. Before World War II, 35,000 people worked at couture houses.
What it Costs
Made from scratch for each customer, haute couture clothing typically requires three fittings. It usually takes from 100 to 400 hours to make one dress, costing from $26,000 to over $100,000. A tailored suit starts at $16,000, an evening gown at $60,000. To read more about the facts.
You the fashion jury decide.
Shots taken by Maria Scard