Couture, But Only If It’s Haute

Haute. Couture. The literal translation of this French phrase means “high sewing”. Haute Couture is a phrase that is often used interchangeably with the word ‘fashion’. A lot of people think that just because it looks nice, it’s trendy, and it is made by a well-known designer that it is considered couture. However, that is not always the case. In today’s post, we will look into the history of couture and learn about the super specific and tedious criteria it takes to be considered a couture fashion house.

Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman, who was deemed “The Father of Couture” in the 19th and 20th centuries. Worth is known for his impeccable haute couture designs which featured “lavish fabrics and trimmings, and his incorporation of elements of historical dress, and his attention to fit.”( In 1858 House of Worth, it featured haute couture, ready-to-wear, and perfumes. By the 1870s, Worth was a well-known and prominent designer in Europe. House of Worth had a reign of almost 100 years. After the passing of Worth, his two sons Jean-Phillipe and Gaston-Lucien took over and ran their father’s business until they passed away in 1924 and 1926. Jean-Charles, the grandson of Worth, continued to run the business until 1952 when he decided to retire. There are still garments made by Worth that you can view at the Met Museum in New York, New York. If you are lucky, you may be able to buy one of his gowns that various individuals have for sale online.

So, you want to design couture? Well, there are some strict guidelines that you have to follow to qualify as a couture house. According to Wikipedia, haute couture is protected by the Chamber of Commerce located in Paris. Haute Couture is a serious business and it is important that people know what couture really is. In order to even call yourself a couture house, you have to follow these four guidelines:

  1. Design made-to-wear (custom) for private clients with one or more fittings
  2. Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least 15 staff members full-time
  3. Have at least 20 full-time technical workers in one of their shops
  4. Haute Couture houses must present a collection of no less than 50 original designs for day and evening wear to the public every season (twice a year in January and July)

Also, this group is divided into different levels. You have the “official” houses, “correspondent” houses (foreign), “guests” (new), “jewelry”, and “accessories”.

To end this post, I am going to list below the top 15 Grand Couture Houses.

There are a lot more Couture designers that I did not mention. Should I do part two? Head over to my Instagram @gellytalks and let me know, also tell me who your favorite Haute Couture designer is Who is your favorite Haute Couture designer?  Thank You for reading today’s post, and make sure to like, comment, and follow, so I know that you are enjoying the blog. 🙂

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