Understanding Haute Couture

By on 29/06/2014

hauteThe term ‘haute couture’ is French. Haute means ‘stylish’ and couture  means ‘sewing’. Together they indicate the trade of designing, crafting, creating and selling customized or custom-fitted, high fashion clothing. The outfits are constructed by hand alone and without any use of sewing machines and over-lockers from the start to finish. They are made from high quality, high-priced fabrics that are sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished with most qualified seamstresses.

To be termed as a haute couture house, a designer or design house must be registered with the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture, Paris, which is regulated by the French Department of Industry. The members must have at least 15 staff employed and they have to present their collections of 35 separate day and evening wear outfits twice a year in front of the board.

The organization has about 18 members, including fashion giants such as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin. Each of these fashion houses spawn more than $1 billion in annual sales and provide work for nearly 5000 people.

Made from scratch for each client, haute couture outfits normally require at least three trials. It typically takes from couture_galliano-630x356100 to 400 hours to create one outfit and costs anywhere from $26,000 to over $100,000. On an average a tailored suit starts at $16,000 while an evening gown at $60,000.

Today only 2000 women in the world buy haute couture clothing out of which 60% are American. Often, designers lend clothes to celebrities on special events for promotion. During the fashion’s Golden Age (just after World War II), some 15,000 women wore haute couture clothing.

In spite of the small market, designers maintain haute couture partly because the status helps advertise other products, such as perfumes, handbags, footwear, cosmetics, and their attire lines available at stores.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>