27 Oct 2004
France is considered the center of the fashion world with Paris in the middle. France is the Mecca of this fashion world and where the officials lie that can make or break you as a couturier. The designers have a pilgrimage in Paris twice a year, January and July. Some of the designers like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent are practically household names (except you would have to live in a mansion to afford them). In the rest of this research paper, I will be reporting on the history of French Haute Couture' and highlighting the three designers mentioned above.
France began demanding attention in the world of fashion back in the days of Louis XIV (1638-1715). After his reign, the rest of Europe watched closely the trends of Paris. The first famous fashion designer to come out of France was Rose Bertin, who also served as Minister of Fashion to Marie Antoinette.
You cannot talk about French fashion without mentioning haute couture. In French, haute couture translates as high tailoring,' and that is an understatement for some of the pieces design houses create. Known as the Father of Couture,' Charles Frederick Worth founded his couture house in 1858. Worth is credited with two main innovations, the showing of his clothing on live models and the specifications that make a person a couturier.' Worth, together with his sons created the "Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne," the Association of Haute Couture Houses. Through this association, Worth established the specifications needed to be a couturier.' This association still exists today and still regulates the use of the term Haute Couture.' Only a designated couture houses can use the term to describe themselves.
Some of the criteria used to determine whether a designing house is a couture house, they must "make the designs at their own premises with a staff of at least 20, present their collections consisting of at least 50...
Cited: Chanel and Her World. By Edmonde Charles-Roux. The Vendome Press. Copyright 1979.
Dior in Vogue. By Brigid Keenan, Forward by Margot Fonteyn. Harmony Books, New York. Copyright 1981.
Yves Saint Laurent – Forty Years of Creation 1958-1998. Edited by Beatrice Dupire. International Festival of Fashion Photography. Copyright 1998.
"Definition of Haute Couture." www.wordiq.com/definition/Haute_couture. Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
"The Grand French Haute Couture Houses." www.elegant-lifestyle.com/haute_couture.htm. Copyright 2001 Elegant-Lifestlyes.com Ltd.
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