Living history: What is haute couture?
A couturier (French for fashion designer for custom-made clothing) is a person involved in the clothing fashion industry who makes original garments to order for private clients. A couturier may make what is known as haute couture. He or she usually hires patternmakers and machinists for garment production, and is either employed by exclusive boutiques or is self employed.
Haute couture (French for "high sewing" or "high dressmaking")
Haute Couture is a French phrase for high fashion translated as "high sewing" or "high dressmaking" refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing.
Couture means dressmaking, sewing, or needlework and haute means elegant or high, so the two combined imply excellent artistry with the fashioning of garments. The purchase of a haute couture model garment is at the top level of hand customised fashion design and clothing construction made by a couture design house. A model haute couture garment is made specifically for the wearer's measurements and body stance. The made to measure exclusive clothes are virtually made by hand, carefully interlined, stay taped and fitted to perfection for each client. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Couture is a common abbreviation of Haute Couture, which refers to the same thing in spirit. Some couture houses who are the Members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris are Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Valentino, Givenchy and Chanel.
While people have been interested in fashion for thousands of years, the industry we know today did not begin to take shape until around 1850. After hundreds of years of opulent fashions, two things happened concurrently to birth the industry we know as haute couture: the invention of the continuous stitch sewing machine, by Isaac Singer, and the instant popularity of the first known couturier named Charles Frederick Worth.
And so it began…