Monday, August 17, 2009

Fashion Dictionary: Haute Couture

John Galliano for Christian Dior with 2 of his creations
image from Fall 2009 Couture

We tend to associate the terms couture or haute couture with high fashion. Actually there are very specific criteria for determining what is or is not haute couture, the main ones beings:

1. only garments produced by a member of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture can be referred to as haute couture.
2. the garment must be made for a specific client with at least 2 fittings
3. the couture house must keep a workshop in Paris that maintains at least 15 people full-time, and
4. must present a collection during the 2 annual fashion weeks with at least 35 runs/exits incorporating both day and evening wear.

Some of the well-known members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture are Christian Dior, Givenchy, Chanel and John-Paul Gaultier. For fall/winter 2009/2010, Elie Saab is a correspondent (foreign) member, Boudicca is a guest member and Loulou De La Farlaise is on the list in the accessories category.

Needless to say, the customer base for haute couture is limited and most of the couture houses leverage on their couture status with a pret-a-porter (ready to wear) range which reaches a wider audience and brings in more profits.

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