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What is Haute Couture?

By Elma B.

What is Haute Couture?

What does Haute Couture Mean?

Haute couture means "high sewing" or "high dressmaking" or "high fashion" in French. In fashion, haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive and custom-fitted clothing. In another words, it is made to order for a specific customer, and is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail. Haute couture is made by a very experienced seamstress, who often uses time-consuming and hand-executed techniques. 

Haute Couture in Fashion Today...

Haute Couture Back

Today, on the one hand, the term is sometimes used loosely by the public to describe all high-fashion custom-fitted clothing. On the other hand, in the fashion industry, the term refers to fashion designers that create exclusive and often trend-setting fashions. Also, in France, haute couture is a protected name that can only be used by firms that meet well-defined standards by law. 

Decline of Haute Couture... 


For all famous fashion houses like Yves Saint Lauren, Chanel, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Lacroix, and Dior, custom clothing is no longer the main source of income. Instead, extravagant haute couture gowns on catwalks only add to the ready-to-wear clothing that is sold to consumers directly in stores. It is the ready-to-wear clothing, shoes, and perfumes that earn great return for the companies.  In fact, the number of haute couture houses has declined from 106 (in 1946) until a mere 18 (in 2000). Today, there are only 9 high-ranking couture houses: Chanel, Versace, Valentino, Dior, Givenchy, Gaultier, Lacroix, Mori, Sirop, Scherrer, and Torrente. 

Chanel Haute Couture
Today, the public will mostly see haute couture gowns when a fashion power house dresses a celebrity for a major red carpet event. Take a look at some exusite haute couture gowns as seen on celebrities and high-fashion runway shows. 

Haute Couture Gown 
Versace Haute Couture

Classic Haute Couture 



Dior Haute Couture 



Dior Haute Couture  
Red Haute Couture 

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