Haute couture can be confusing to ordinary people. If you are interested in the world of fashion, it is time that you understand it. Haute couture originated in France. In fact, haute couture means “high fashion” or “high dressmaking”. Basically, it refers to the creation of custom-fitted clothing. It is considered high-end fashion because it is created by hand from beginning to completion using expensive materials.
However, you have to know that not all hand-made clothes in France earn the label haute couture. Haute couture is a serious business because it protected and defined by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. The agency determines which fashion houses earn the right to be called haute couture. There were rules established in 1945. To be called an haute couture, the house should:
1. Design made-to-order clothing for private clients offering one or more fittings.
2. The creation will happen in a workshop called atelier in Paris having 15 staff
members excluding 20 full-time technical people.
3. Each season (January and July), the house should present a collection composed of
at least 50 original looks for day and evening garments.
Whether it is kids couture fashion or women’s couture, the rules are still the same. Apart from the strict regulations founded by Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, which is regulated by the French Department of Industry, here are other distinctions of haute couture house:
The prices are insanely high
You already know that haute couture is made of high-quality expensive materials. It is not a surprise that the prices are insanely high. Typically, haute couture requires at least three fittings. It usually takes 100 to 400 hours to make a single dress. The cost will depend on the materials used but it can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000. For example, a tailored suit can start at $15,000 while an evening gown can start at $60,000.
The members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture
The members are divided into three – official members, invited members and foreign members. There are 14 official members namely Adeline Andre, Alexandre Vauthier, Alexis Mabille, Atelier Gustavolins, Bouchra Jarrar, Chanel, Christian Dior, Frank Sorbier, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maurizio Galante, Stephane Rolland, Yiqing Yin and Guo Pei.
The invited members cannot use the “haute couture” title. They can only use “couture”. Invited members include Beatrice Demulder Ferrant, Herve L. LeRoux, Iris van Herpen, J. Mendel, Julien Fournie, Maison Rabih Kayrouz, Yanna Samouilov and Livia Stoianova, Rad Hourani, Ralph & Russo, Serkan Cura, Schiaparelli, Georges Hobeika, Zuhair Murad, Marco Zanini, and Harime Nui.
Foreign members do not show in Paris. However, they are still recognised by The Chambre. Members include Armani, Elie Saab, Versace, Valentino, Giambattista Valli and TopShop.
The haute couture market
It is recorded that only 2,000 women around the world buy couture clothes. Of the 2,000 only 200 are regular customers. Despite the small market, haute couture is really a serious business. The houses generate millions annually and employ thousands of people – mostly seamstresses. The workers specialise in one area like fabric, feathers, shoes and many more. The prestige kept the market vibrant.