Sunday, July 6, 2008

Haute ou pas?

In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and is defined by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris based in Paris, France. Their rules state that only 'those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves' of the label haute couture. The criteria for haute couture were established in 1945 and updated in 1992.

To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term haute couture in its advertising and any other way, members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture must follow these rules:

-Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
-Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
-Each season (i.e., twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least thirty-five runs with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.

However, the term haute couture has been misused by successive ready-to-wear brands and high street labels since the late 1980s so that its true meaning has become blurred with that of prêt-à-porter (the French term for ready-to-wear fashion) in the public perception. Every haute couture house also markets prêt-à-porter collections, which typically deliver a higher return on investment than their custom clothing. In fact, much of the haute couture displayed at fashion shows today is rarely sold; it is created to enhance the prestige of the house. Falling revenues have forced a few couture houses to abandon their less profitable couture division and concentrate solely on the less prestigious prêt-à-porter. These houses, such as Italian designer Antonio Capucci, all of whom have their workshops in Italy, are no longer considered haute couture.

Many top designer fashion houses, such as Chanel, use the word for some of their special collections. These collection are often not for sale or they are very difficult to purchase.
source: wikipedia

Haute Couture Fall 08

*click on the image for haute luxury.


CoutureCarrie said...

Awesome history and photo selection!

Miss at la Playa said...

great, now I can start my own haute couture house! :P

coco said...

I watched this whole long (rather dull) programe on haute couture, and now i wish i hadn't, this post was much more interesting, and a lot lot shorter!

susie_bubble said...

Actually there are haute couture houses who don't have ready to wear collections.... but yes, the term is very much mis-used....

atelier said...

great learning post. I will try to go this week to the bar you told me; I ll let you know

Sunniva said...

fantastic post, dear! very informative indeed. and I love your haute couture collage!