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Historical Development of Haute Couture

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    Couture has long stood as the modern composure between the garments as worthy collectives and the growing ideas of fashion as a procedure. For more than a century, couture has been symbolic of the celebration of costume fashion even today. It represents the mixture of fashion- the modern object that combines innovation with personal and social needs- and costume- the arts of dressmaking, tailoring, and crafts basic to clothing and accessories. In this essay, It will be discussed about how haute couture is still relevant to the fashion even today considering the historical development of Haute Couture, ready to wear and the high street. This will include when, who and how they started. This topic is educates interest in fashion because some believe that the trace of haute couture seems to be fading away since the high street has overtaken fashion. However there are designers who still apply couture in their garments. It also reveals how the history of fashion and industry has changed since it has started. I will consider the history of Haute Couture, what made it relevant in the first place, the evolution (consumers) considering ready-to-wear and the high street fashion in my argument proving that haute couture is still relevant to fashion industry even today.

    Haute couture, French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking”, originally referred to the work produced in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century by Englishman Charles Frederick Worth (October 13, 1826–March 10, 1895), widely considered often either as the founder or father of haute couture as it is known today. With this tag and the talent that he possessed, Worth made his mark in the French fashion industry and he had the foresight to recognize the value of creating a “brand name” by signing his garments with the worth label. The result of this innovative marketing tactic was that Worth, already admired by the rich American women, was able to put an incredibly high price tag on his gowns that had little to do with the cost of material and everything to do with the name – WORTH. MacColl, in his book, In To Marry an English Lord: Or How Anglomania Really Got Started, convicted how
    much the American women loved Worth’s design, he states, “Americans never stopped at three dresses; they were hard put to stop at eighty or ninety.” (MacColl, 1989). By this what MacColl appears to be saying is that Worth’s marketing approach was a success. This also shows that worth’s consumers were mostly rich American women. His high-status clients and that of the press gave Charles Worth effusive praise. Because of this, it also gave him and his brand recognition worldwide. This is one reason why haute couture was/is known in other cities. Accordingly the brand name or the signature of the designers is still relevant today including Haute Couture and ready-to-wear such as Chanel, Givenchy, Christian Dior and the lists goes on.

    “The fashionable woman is not always French, but almost always Parisian or she becomes so very quickly… she could be a princess, a bouregoise, an actress or cocotte” – La Vie Parisienne (1889)


    Pauline Weston Thomas, (2001) Haute couture, Its Meaning and Role in Fashion Today – Fashion-Era, [Online], Available:

    Ruth, L. (ed) (1972) Paris Fashion, Great Britain: Michael Joseph Ltd.

    MacColl, G. and Wallace, Carol McD, (1989) In To Marry an English Lord: Or How Anglomania Really Got Started, p.68-71, Workman publishing, New York.

    Jessa Krick, (Oct. 2004) “Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) and The House of Worth” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000- [Online], Available:

    First, their price is terrorisingly high for normal working class people.. Only rich people can afford them to wear.. And currently the rich to poor ratio is very high in this world.. So customer will be the rich only

    Second, as they are hand made, it takes a looong time to be completed to wear and it’s not a wise thing to wait for a dress for such a long time..

    Third, people normally wouldn’t wear such designs and walk in the street unless you are a rich fashion freak but again, that wouldn’t be wise… However, they can be worn on ceremonial events like parties,movie premier etc

    On the other hand there are supporters of haute couture too. They say.. 1.the price is worth it as they are made from the finest of clothings and look higher standards than other dresses.

    2. The time is also worth it.. If you’re going to pay such a huge amount of money, you need to make sure they are perfect, don’t you?

    3. If you are a fashion lover, then you won’t care about any other thing than it… Plus it’s a part of history as well. And it also sets you apart from other people in the society..

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