Haute couture: Wikis

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Pierre Balmain adjusting a dress on model Ruth Ford in 1947 (Photographed by Carl Van Vechten).
Haute couture on the runway, by Christian Lacroix.

Haute couture (French for "high sewing" or "high dressmaking"; pronounced [oːt kutyʁ]) refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Couture is a common abbreviation of Haute Couture, which refers to the same thing in spirit[1].

It originally referred to Englishman Charles Frederick Worth's work, produced in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. 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 Milan, London, New York and Tokyo.

The term can refer to:

Contents

Legal status

In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and is defined by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris based in Paris, France. Their rules state that only "those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves" of the label haute couture. The criteria for haute couture were established in 1945 and updated in 1992.

To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term haute couture in its advertising and any other way, members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture must follow these rules:

  • Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
  • Each season (i.e., twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.


However, the term haute couture may have been misused by ready-to-wear brands since the late 1980s, so that its true meaning may have become blurred with that of prêt-à-porter (the French term for ready-to-wear fashion) in the public perception. Every haute couture house also markets prêt-à-porter collections, which typically deliver a higher return on investment than their custom clothing[citation needed]. In fact, much of the haute couture displayed at fashion shows today is rarely sold; it is created to enhance the prestige of the house[citation needed]. Falling revenues have forced a few couture houses to abandon their less profitable couture division and concentrate solely on the less prestigious prêt-à-porter. These houses, such as Italian designer Roberto Capucci, all of whom have their workshops in Italy, are no longer considered haute couture.

Many top designer fashion houses, such as Chanel, use the word for some of their special collections. These collections are often not for sale or they are very difficult to purchase. Sometimes, "haute couture" is inappropriately used to label non-dressmaking activities, such as fine art, music and more. [2]

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Members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture

The fashion houses listed on the definitive schedule for Haute-Couture Spring/Summer 2010 are:[3]

Official members

Adeline André
Anne Valérie Hash
Chanel
Christian Dior
Christian Lacroix
Dominique Sirop
Franck Sorbier
Givenchy
Jean Paul Gaultier
Maurizio Galante
Stéphane Rolland

Correspondent members (foreign)

Elie Saab
Giorgio Armani
Maison Martin Margiela
Valentino

Guest members

Adam Jones
Alexandre Matthieu
Alexis Mabille
Atelier Gustavo Lins
Christophe Josse
Felipe Oliveira Baptista
Jean-Paul Knott
Josep Font
Josephus Thimister
Lefranc.Ferrant
Maison Rabih Kayrouz
Marc Le Bihan

Jewelry

Boucheron
Cartier
Chanel Joaillerie
Chaumet
Dior Joaillerie
Mellerio Dits Meller
Van Cleef & Arpels

Accessories

Loulou De La Falaise
Maison Michel
Massaro
On Aura Tout Vu

Recent Guest members have included the fashion houses of Boudicca, Cathy Pill, Richard René and Udo Edling,[4] as well as Eymeric François, Gérald Watelet, Nicolas Le Cauchois[5] and WU YONG.[6] In the 2008/2009 Fall/Winter Haute Couture week, Emanuel Ungaro showed as an Official Member.

Former members

Donatella Versace
Elsa Schiaparelli
Emilio Pucci
Chado Ralph Rucci
Erica Spitulski
Erik Tenorio
Fred Sethal
Guy Laroche
Hanae Mori

Jean Patou
Jean-Louis Scherrer
Lanvin
Loris Azzaro
Louis Feraud
Mainbocher
Marcel Rochas

Nina Ricci
Paco Rabanne
Pierre Balmain
Pierre Cardin
Ralph Rucci
Torrente
Yves Saint Laurent
Gai Mattiolo
Anna May

History

French leadership in European fashion may date from the 18th century, when the art, architecture, music, and fashions of the French court at Versailles were imitated across Europe[citation needed]. Visitors to Paris brought back clothing that was then copied by local dressmakers. Stylish women also ordered fashion dolls dressed in the latest Parisian fashion to serve as models.

As railroads and steamships made European travel easier, it was increasingly common for wealthy women to travel to Paris to shop for clothing and accessories. French fitters and dressmakers were commonly thought to be the best in Europe, and real Parisian garments were considered better than local imitations.

The couturier Charles Frederick Worth (October 13, 1826–March 10, 1895), is widely considered the father of haute couture as it is known today. Although born in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England, Worth made his mark in the French fashion industry. Revolutionizing how dressmaking had been previously perceived, Worth made it so the dressmaker became the artist of garnishment: a fashion designer. While he created one-of-a-kind designs to please some of his titled or wealthy customers, he is best known for preparing a portfolio of designs that were shown on live models at the House of Worth. Clients selected one model, specified colors and fabrics, and had a duplicate garment tailor-made in Worth's workshop. Worth combined individual tailoring with a standardization more characteristic of the ready-to-wear clothing industry, which was also developing during this period.

Following in Worth's footsteps were Callot Soeurs, Patou, Poiret, Vionnet, Fortuny, Lanvin, Chanel, Mainbocher, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, and Dior. Some of these fashion houses still exist today, under the leadership of modern designers.

In the 1960s a group of young designers who had trained under men like Dior and Balenciaga left these established couture houses and opened their own establishments. The most successful of these young designers were Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges, and Emanuel Ungaro. Japanese native and Paris-based Hanae Mori was also successful in establishing her own line.

Lacroix is perhaps the most successful of the fashion houses to have been started in the late 20th century. Other new houses have included Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler.

For all these fashion houses, custom clothing is no longer the main source of income, often costing much more than it earns through direct sales; it only adds the aura of fashion to their ventures in ready-to-wear clothing and related luxury products such as shoes and perfumes, and licensing ventures that earn greater returns for the company. Excessive commercialization and profit-making can be damaging, however. Cardin, for example, licensed with abandon in the 1980s and his name lost most of its fashionable cachet when anyone could buy Cardin luggage at a discount store. It is their ready-to-wear collections that are available to a wider audience, adding a splash of glamour and the feel of haute couture to more wardrobes.

The 1960s also featured a revolt against established fashion standards by mods, rockers, and hippies, as well as an increasing internationalization of the fashion scene. Jet travel had spawned a jet set that partied—and shopped—just as happily in New York as in Paris. Rich women no longer felt that a Paris dress was necessarily better than one sewn elsewhere. While Paris is still pre-eminent in the fashion world, it is no longer the sole arbiter of fashion.

See also

References

External links


Simple English

adjusting a dress on model Ruth Ford in 1947 (photographed by Carl Van Vechten)]]

Haute couture (pronounced 'OHT koo-TOOR') is a French term for high fashion. It refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. The term refers to:

  • the fashion houses or fashion designers that create exclusive and often trend-setting fashions.
  • the fashions created by them.

Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer. It is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Couture is a common abbreviation of haute couture.[1]

In France, haute couture is une appellation juridiquement protégée (a legally protected name). It may only be used by firms which meet certain well-defined standards. However, the term is also used to describe all high-fashion custom-fitted clothing in other 'fashion capitals' such as Milan, London, New York, Tokyo and Madrid.

History

The couturier Charles Frederick Worth (13 October 1826–10 March 1895), is widely considered the father of haute couture as it is known today.[2][3] Although born in Lincolnshire, England, Worth made his mark in the French fashion industry. He revolutionized how dressmaking was oranised. Worth made it so the dressmaker became an artist: a fashion designer. He created one-of-a-kind designs to please his titled or wealthy customers. More importantly, he prepared designs which were shown on live models at the House of Worth. Clients selected a design, specified colours and fabrics, and had a version tailor-made in Worth's workshop. Worth combined individual tailoring with a standardization more characteristic of the ready-to-wear clothing industry, which was also developing during this period.

The Chambre syndicale

To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term haute couture, members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture must follow these rules:

  • Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
  • Each season (that's twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, with at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.

Membership is seldom given. Outside the Chambre syndicale are many successful fashion houses which deal in prêt-à-porter (the French term for ready-to-wear fashion). They have their own Chambre syndicale du prêt-à-porter.

References

  1. "What is Couture?". http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-couture.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  2. Jacqueline C. Kent 2003. Business builders in fashion - Charles Frederick Worth - the father of haute couture The Oliver Press.
  3. Claire B. Shaeffer 2001. Couture sewing techniques "Originating in mid- 19th-century Paris with the designs of an Englishman named Charles Frederick Worth, haute couture represents an archaic tradition of creating garments by hand with painstaking care and precision". Taunton Press 2001.


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