Monday, November 7

Fashion 101: H

I'm pulling the big guns out today. It's about to get real serious. I'm about to start a major soapbox. And while we're at it, bring out the high horse because I'm going to get on that too. Today's word is grossly misused and it brings shame to the one true artform that represents fashion from beginning to end. I hope all of you had a good breakfast, some ginkgo biloba, and a good night's rest. This is a term you need to know and you need how to use properly.

Haute Couture

Definition: Exclusive custom-fitted fashions that are the pinnacle of the fashion industry. Haute couture, which is French for high sewing or dressmaking, has become a global industry that drives clothing retail and a significant part of magazine sales. Haute couture garments are made to measure and are typically produced from high-quality materials, which are sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish, often by hand. Haute couture originated in 18th-century France when fashions of the court at Versailles were imitated across Europe. The modern industry was begun by Charles Frederick Worth (1826-1895), who created one-of-a-kind designs and prepared designs shown on live models.

Dior SS2007

Today there only 11 official Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture designers. 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 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 (ie-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.
(Haute) couture is not:

  • Juicy Couture, Wildfox Couture, or other casual lifestyle brands.
  • Any expensive fashion.
  • Any designer, collection, or runway show.
  • A term to use when you want to make something sound elegant, chic, or exquisite. It is a renowned term to be reserved for exclusive members that earned the right to be part of the Chambre Syndicale.

Credit: The Visual Dictionary of Fashion Design, Ambrose & Harris, Wikipedia


  1. That's really interesting. I didn't know some of those requirements to meet the definition. Now, how many times can I print this out and how many people can I find that need it glued to their foreheads?


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