The fashion term haute couture,
whose literal translation from French is
haute = high
couture = sewing
applies to clothing –
designed and crafted to bespoke specifications.
Couture fashion houses
belong to the Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture, Paris
which is regulated by the French Department of Industry.
Founded in the 19th century by renown couturier,
Charles Frederic Worth – the father of modern haute couture,
today the Chambre Syndicale de Haute Couture
numbers around 16 member design houses.
Included, in this rarified list are:
Christian Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf,
Chanel and Maison Martin Margiela and others.
There are strict specifications for members to adhere such as:
– having a workshop in Pairs
– employing at least 15 full -time individuals
in addition to upwards of 20 technical/specialist staff
– present two annual collections
– design bespoke clothing, to include at least one client fitting.
Given that it is entirely crafted by hand,
an haute couture piece is painstakingly labour intensive.
Created from expensive, lush fabrics –
the high cost of construction is reflected in the high price of the garment.
Yet the creative rationale of haute couture is
that is serves as a a platform for fashion innovation based
on the tradition of exceptional workmanship.
A possible added financial rationale?
Haute couture fashion helps to power
marketing of a label’s more affordable
ready-to-wear lines, accessories and beauty products.
This week the couture houses presented their Autumn 2014 collections.
A few that caught my attention:
(images from style.com):
Fall 2014 Couture
Viktor & Rolf
by Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren
a wearing of the ‘red carpet’
Maison Martin Margiela
by Ulyana Sergeenko
by Giambattista Valli
by Marco Zanini
hats by Stephen Jones