Haute Couture

Haute Couture (1C)

Paris is the indisputable world fashion capital, and, above all, of haute couture. There is no place like Paris for finding the most glamorous and luxurious boutiques and for finding head offices of the big names in world fashion.

Haute couture garments are unique creations designed by one of the nine haute couture houses recognised by the French Dressmaking Federation. The prices of haute couture clothes mean that they are only affordable to a few lucky ones and they are the driving force of the textile industry and an inspiration for each season’s trends. Nearly all the haute couture houses also manufacture prêt-à-porter garments with a similar idea to that of haute couture but at a much more affordable price.

If you want to take a look at the latest trends, get along to the west bank of the Seine. The majority of own-label fashion houses are in Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré and the surrounding streets, and above all, in the highly exclusive Avenue Montaigne. This is where the shops of Christian Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Nina Ricci, Pierre Cardin and Christian Lacroix are.

Paris also has space for the new creative artists, of course. The Marais is the district of the most outstanding avant-garde designers, specifically in Rue des Rosiers.

The first fashion designer that was more than a dressmaker was Charles Frederick Worth, and Englishman who settled in Paris and founded his own fashion house in 1858, along with his partner Boberg. Worth was the first person to sign his creations by sewing in a label with his name onto the garments. His success meant that it was he who advised his clients what to wear, instead of following the instructions of the clients to make the clothes to their taste, as dressmakers did.

It was during this period that many fashion houses began to hire artists to draw the designs of their garments. The images themselves could be shown to the clients in a much more economical way than producing a simple garment in the workshop. 

In this way Paris became the city that dictated the norms regarding fashion. The magazines began to become obsessed with everything that came from Paris and the big names were forged here. And that is how it continues today. Paris is fashion. Fashion is Paris.

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