What is haute couture?

There is ready-to-wear and there is haute couture. Haute couture is the highest achievable in fashion. It is the height of fashion. Haute couture is designed by fashion designers who work for a select market. Well-known examples of designers who create haute couture are Valentino, Zac Posen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Oscar de la Renta and the duo Viktor & Rolf.

One or more copies

Only one or a few pieces of clothing are made of haute couture. These are tailor-made for their wearers. All pieces are made by hand from exclusive fabrics. The most refined techniques are used in its manufacture. The biggest difference between ready-to-wear and haute couture is that ready-to-wear clothing can be worn the same. So it is not, like haute couture, made to order.


Haute couture emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century. It was more or less invented by the English couturier Charles Worth. He did not make clothes entirely at the request of customers, but he designed his own collections. These were then shown to the rich women. Their own fabric was then added back to his designs.

Make an appointment with couturier

Someone who wants a haute couture piece makes an appointment with a couturier. The person is then measured and a design is chosen. The design of your choice is then made to measure and tried on a number of times. A couture garment is extremely expensive due to its exclusive character.

French women

Until the 1960s, haute couture was actually only known to French women. Almost every Frenchwoman had her clothes made by a couturier in the area. The wealthier women had this done by well-known couturiers of the time, such as Charles Worth and Paul Poiret. Haute couture was first mainly known in Paris, but nowadays it is being designed in more and more fashion cities, such as Milan, London and New York.

Chambre Syndicale de La Couture

Only a very small group of fashion designers can call themselves haute couturier. They must be appointed for this purpose by the Chambre Syndicale de La Couture. This chambre was founded in Paris in 1868. It is an interest group of the professional group for couturiers. A couturier shows his or her ideas twice a year during a fashion show in Paris. The elite list of the Chambre Syndicale de La Couture determines which designers can show their collection to the public.

Number of conditions

To be included in the list of the Chambre Syndicale de La Couture, a couturier must meet a number of conditions. A recognized fashion house must produce the clothing in its own workshops. At least twenty people must also work in these studios. Furthermore, the couturiers are expected to show their collection on the catwalk twice a year, which consists of at least 25 to 50 creations. A show always ends with a bridal creation.

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