Haute Couture

We’re in constant awe of the life of haute couture. Handmade creations that are customized with the highest delicacy of fabric, materials and talent. But what is haute couture more precisely and why do we j’adore it?

What is Haute Couture

Haute couture is the highest form of fashion. The art form is protected by french law, and the couture houses are chosen by la Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture. There are certain standards you have to meet to be a member. For instance you have to have at least 15 employees, the creations have to be custom-made, and every collection has to be presented in Paris. To make it more understandable, think of it like Mean Girls. The department is Regina George (but a nicer one) and she decides if you can sit with them, but you have to haute couturewear pink on Wednesdays if you’re invited. Clear as that right?

History of Haute Couture

Haute couture was coined in the 19th century France. However its existence, as an established fashion matter, goes back to Rose Bertin (1747 – 1813). Bertin designed clothes for Marie Antoinette during the latter half of the 18th century. Weirdly enough though, it’s the english designer Charles Worth (1825 – 1895),  who’s considered to be its father. He gave the designers of couture a celebrity status and increased the popularity (see his 1865 creation for Empress Elisabeth of Austria to the right) Since Worth, haute couture became an established feature in the fashion world. Paul Poiret, Chanel, Schiapparelli, Balenciaga and Dior were some that followed the path.

Haute Couture Today

Couture posessed a major fashion status during the first half of the 20th century but lost in its popularity and influence due to the youth fashion that emerged in the 1960’s. Couture became associated with old, luxurious and unreachable fashion that was centered to an elitistic clientele. With new innovations, clothes started to become mass-produced and the old status of couture didn’t fill its  former function. Today the couture shows are still dominated by classic brands as Chanel, Dior and Valentino. Some younger fashion houses are contributing too, for instance; Ulyana Sergeenko, Elie Saab and Giambattista Valli.

The Future of Haute Couture

The couture days doesn’t attract as much attention as the fashion weeks, the couture creations are still incredibly expensive, exclusive and remains the art form of fashion it’s been the last centuries. As the younger generation like when things are free and cheap (aka high street shops), the future of couture remains unclear. What remains clear however, is that the shows, creations and dreams of couture are enjoyed by those who love the artsy sides of fashion. As long as that stays, the couture life will hopefully live on and serve us dreamy pieces of fashion art twice a year.

Folks, what are your thoughts on Haute Couture?

Giambattista Valli Paris Haute Couture 11 – "Fragments of a Backstage" Ph. @gregbackstage via @crfashionbook

A photo posted by Giambattista Valli Official (@giambattistapr) on

#ChanelHauteCouture #ChanelAteliers #PFW

A photo posted by CHANEL (@chanelofficial) on

Embroidering, beading and printing architectural structure of New York City. #impressionsofNY

A photo posted by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld) on

The Fashion Folks

“Fashion is nonsense, therefore we take it seriously”

77 Comments

  1. I like *looking* at couture pieces like the ones in the post, but I highly doubt I will ever own one of these garments myself. Very informative post!

    alicered.co.uk

  2. The state of the fashion industry and how we’re revolving to a wear-and-toss state of mind makes me cringe for the waste that’s created. Couture for me is a symbol and reminder of a time when people kept their garments for life and clothing were made with longevity in mind. I’m glad it’s still being revered today although the way people look at it has changed; I think it will forever be a source of inspiration!

    xo, alice / T Y P E N U

    • Your comment was so lovely written and I second everything you said! Couture is a metaphor for the old fashion life where fashion was honored in another way than today’s wear and toss state! Xx

      http://www.thefashionfolks.com

  3. This is such a great post, as always! The Couture shows are very inspirational for me, though I don’t follow them as closely. What I do admire is the artistic approach in the designs and the combination and use of various fabrics and techniques, which I like to sometimes keep in mind to incorporate in my everyday looks. I agree that the future of couture seems unclear, since it is relatively exclusive, but I hope it does stand the test of time! Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you’re having a great day so far!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

    • Thank you love, you’re always so sweet! They are a llovely dose of inspo and kind of beautiful too as it’s so much work that’s been put into a single piece! And lovely that couture designers dare to dream and expand the lines of fashion and the perception of it. Hopefully couture will stay alive and stand clear! Xx

      http://www.thefashionfolks.com

  4. I had no idea what the history of haute couture was, but it’s so fascinating! It makes sense it was in Marie Antoinette’s era that it first came to be, but how interesting it wasn’t fully established until 100 years later!

    • Truly, it feels like she did so much for fashion even though it hasn’t gotten into full bloom until now! Season fashion (well Rose Bertin did introduce that), celebrity fashion and the endless spending! Xx

      http://www.thefashionfolks.com

  5. This is exactly why I love coming to your blog! So educational! I actually did not know what made “Haute Couture” exactly that. I love how you explained it using a Regina George/ Mean Girls analogy! You are so creative and I feel lucky that I get a fashion crash-course every time I visit!

    Keep doing what you’re doing babe!

    xoxo
    Rina
    http://www.andshedressed.com

    • You’re too sweet babe, thank you so much for your love and support! Always get so much light and love from you! And lovely that you feel like you’re learning something, and love that you noticed the Mean Girls reference hahah, quite proud of it myself! Xx

      http://www.thefashionfolks.com

  6. I loved the Mean Girls comparison here, that was great! I love the idea of haute couture, it’s more like art to me than anything else.

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