In some normal people mind, they might not know what the word “Haute Couture” means because they are expensive, luxurious and exclusive. Haute Couture is actually strictly defined as “high sewing”, haute couture has evolved from the days when it was invented by the Chambre Syndicale de la Confection et de la couture pour Dames et fillettes which means trade-union room of clothes industry and the seam for ladies and young girls in 1868. (Deborah Bee, Couture in the 21th century, 2010:p7). It is about the tailoring- the creation of exclusive, handmade garments, after a series of fittings, to the highest possible standard. In the following parts, it is going to show the secrets, history of the Haute Couture world, the contemporary industry running operation secrets and the future prediction of this niche luxury market by research, interviews from the people buying the dress as well as the designers themselves. History and the start of haute couture
Charles Frederick Worth (1826-95),the first “King of Couture”. His styles dominates European aristocratic society in the mid-19th century. Worth was a Paris-based couturier that turned dressmaking into an art form. He designed spectacular gowns famed for their boldly patterned silks, lavish ornament and the innovative use of fabrics. They became status symbols and fashionable clients from across the world flocked to his salon. “We have Charles Worth to thank for starting it all”, said John Galliano 2010 The system of haute couture evolved that stuck to certain rigid rules,set in place by the chamber Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne, founded in Paris in 1868. It became the routine for the head of a fashion house to select sketches from a bank of freelance designers. At a outure house’s seasonal presentation- Spring/Summer in Autumn/Winter in July which at least 50 outfits were shoen to an audience made up of customers and authorised buyers. The designs were then made up for the clients or sold as patterns, either in linen or paper. The visual look of the old couture
This is the main structure of how the early couture looked like. The top part was called corsets and the bottom was called cage crinoline.
*Photos taken in V&A by myself
With the bases underneath, spectacular garments can be produced. The left one was designed by Charles Worth in 1881, it was made by satin, embroidered with silk, chenille and beads, trimmed with machine lace. The right one was designed by Jean Patou (1880-1936) in 1932-4. It was make bu tulle embroidered with beads.
*Photos taken in V&A by myself
The Couture industry in the early age
High fashion at the beginning of the 20th century was extravagant and luxurious, more and more designers were interested to step into the couture industry. The most significant couturiers well known until nowadays are Christian Dior, Chanel, Lanvin, YSL and Givenchy. Looking back to the 20s, the most shocking pre-WWI fashion statement came from Coco Chanel, with her sporty trend. Having established couture salons in Paris and the seaside resorts of Deauville and Biarritz, she created lightweight clothes with no linings, employed soft jersey for cardigans and sweaters. Chanel’s impact on couture cannot be underestimated as in 1920, she created a craze for wide-legged trousers and matelot tops. *Christian Dior was doing the fitting with the client
Talented couturier such as Christobal Balenciaga as the Spanish newspapers reported” women from all over the world cross frontiers to buy his creations during the war years. However, in 1947 the fashion world was presented with a revolution. The “new look” Dior’s created in his debut collection was starting point of a golden age of couture on the international fashion scene. Tiny, corseted waists were accentuated with full, layered skirts and padding over the hips, while jackets and gowns were cut to draw attention to the...