what is haute couture

What is Haute Couture?

The fantasy world of Haute Couture, where all your Cinderella dreams come true. Many have only dreamed of viewing the models sashay down the runway at fashion week. Let alone wear one of these luxurious designer creations, where only young, wealthy debutantes, celebrities, and the super-rich are blessed with such indulgence.

HAUTE COUTURE: “IT IS THE UNSEEN, UNFORGETTABLE, ULTIMATE ACCESSORY OF FASHION THAT HERALDS YOUR ARRIVAL AND PROLONGS YOUR DEPARTURE.” – COCO CHANEL

Behind the (what looks like) seamless process in which the couture creations are paraded to the public, is a team of devoted petit mains (little hands) and Première (head seamstress) who work tirelessly around the clock to hand-stitch every bead, embellishment and detail to transform a garment into an opulent work of art.

Haute Couture, French for ‘High Sewing’ also known as High Fashion, is a term that is protected by French law. To be known as; label Haute couture is decided by the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris. And if you thought to create the collections was arduous, think again, so is the entry! There are many strict rules in place that designers have to obey before being selected.

Each year, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture selects fashion houses that comply with the rules, and once approved they allow the chosen fashion houses to call themselves label Haute Couture.

If you’re one day thinking of creating a fashion house and aspire to be known as a label Haute Couture this is what you need to know to comply.

• Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings

• Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time

• Have at least twenty full-time technical people, in at least one workshop (atelier)

• Present a collection of at least fifty original designs to the public every fashion season (twice, in January and July of each year), of both day and evening garment. – Wikipedia

Haute couture, unfortunately, gets misused a lot, mostly by accident. But, there are many garment makers that like to use haute couture to make their label sound exclusive. Labeling your brand as ‘Couture’ is okay. It’s when you add ‘Haute’ that you’re not only falsely naming your label but being dishonest with your customers as well.

It takes a lot of love, work and commitment creating a Maison Haute Couture. As with anything, if you have the drive and passion you’ll succeed no matter what! It starts with an idea, an illustration, a toile, and a garment. Get creating!

“COUTURE SHOLD BE FUN, FOOLISH AND ALMOST UNWEARABLE.” – CHRISTIAN LACROIX

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