TextileGlossary.com

What is "Haute Couture" - Definition & Explanation

French (of course) that literally means 'high fashion'. Haute couture garments are always one-off, one-of-a-kind. They're extravagant, often irrational, always unique and totally unaffordable. Famous eco haute couture designers include Linda Loudermilk, Katharine Hamnet, and Deborah Lindquist.
Haute couture (French for 'high sewing') is a common term for high fashion as produced in Paris and imitated in other fashion capitals such as New York, London, and Milan. Sometimes it is used only to refer to French fashion; at other times it refers to any unique stylish design made to order for wealthy and high-status clients.

The term can refer to:

The fashion houses or fashion designers that create exclusive and often trend-setting fashions the fashions created In France, the label "haute couture" is a protected appellation. A certain number of formal criteria (number of employees, participation in fashion shows...) must be met for a fashion house to use the label; a list of eligible houses is made official every year by the French Ministry of Industry. The haute couture houses belong to the professional union the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

The French term for ready-to-wear (not custom fitted) fashion is prêt-à-porter. Every haute couture house also markets prêt-à-porter collections, which typically deliver a higher return on investment than their custom clothing. Failing 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 are no longer haute couture.

History

French leadership in European fashion may perhaps be dated from the 18th century, when the art, architecture, music, and fashions of the French court at Versailles were imitated across Europe. Visitors to Paris brought back clothing that was then copied by local dressmakers. Stylish women also ordered fashion dolls from Paris -- dolls dressed in the latest Parisian fashions, 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 seamstresses were commonly thought to be the best in Europe, and real Parisian garments were considered better than local imitations. The first couturier to establish international dominance was Charles Frederick Worth (1826-1895.) Even New York socialites crossed the Atlantic Ocean to order clothes from Worth.

Following in Worth's footsteps were: Patou, Poiret, Vionnet, Fortuny, Lanvin, Chanel, 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 men were Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Andre Courreges, and Emmanuel Ungaro.

Lacroix is perhaps the most successful of the fashion houses to have been started in the last decade. For all these fashion houses, custom clothing is no longer the main source of income; it only adds the aura of fashion to the ready-to-wear, shoes and perfumes, and licensing ventures that make the real money. A house must be careful, however, not to push the profit-making too far. 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.

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.

High fashion; a very new look; expensive clothing created by a designer.
Haute couture is a common term for high fashion as produced in Paris and imitated in other fashion capitals such as New York, London, and Milan. Sometimes it is used only to refer to French fashion; at other times it refers to any unique stylish design made to order for wealthy and high-status clients.

Some other terms

Some more terms:

A cravat is the neckband that was the forerunner of the modern tailored necktie. From the end of the 16th century the term "band" applied to any long strip of cloth worn round the neck that was not a...
Technical method of constructing the fronts of case furniture, such as chests or cabinets. Featuring three flattened curves, the concave flanked by convex. Developed in America, especially in New...
This is the most widely used finishing technique. The finish consists of an opaque base-coat of pigmented resins, followed by a protective top coat. The natural colour of the leather is completely...
A fabric whose weave is made up of 2 or 3 warp yarns or threads to every one weft. Weave with diagonal ribs and large number of variations. Diagonals may be set at sharp or blunt angles, may be...
A fabric construction, in which two fabrics are woven on the loom at the same time, one on top of the other. In the weaving process, the two layers of woven fabric are held together using binder...

Companies for Haute Couture:


If you manufacture, distribute or otherwise deal in Haute Couture, please fill your company details below so that we can list our company for FREE!

Add a definition

Add a definition for a textile term that you know about! Send us an email & tell us:
  • The term you want to define
  • Its definition in 500 words or less
  • Attach an image if necessary.
  • Optionally, tell us about yourself in 200 words or less!

(s) 2017 TextileGlossary.com Some rights reserved. • Sitemap