Brief History of Haute Couture

Brief History of Haute Couture

Brief History of Haute Couture

Haute Couture has come a long way since the days of Louis XIV who promoted French fashion through Fashion Dolls.

The fashion history of Haute Couture truly began in France in the 18th century with couturier Rose Bertin as Minister For Fashion and continued with Leroy after Napoleon became Emperor in 1804.

In those early days famous ladies and royal personages told the couturiers what they wanted in dress designs.

Later in the 19th century Englishman Charles Worth regarded now as the father of modern Haute Couture first put his name on the label of clothes.  In 1858 in Paris he began to produce collections of clothes from his own ideas for clients to see and approve or disapprove.  Worth's approach was considered novel.  His ideas of showing finished couture garments on live models were a huge success with the Empress Eugenie and so designers began to dictate what might be fashionable.
Charles Worth Redefines Haute Couture in 1858

In 1857 the Englishman Charles Worth set up a Paris fashion house at 7 Rue de la Paix a then unfashionable Paris district. In 1858 he made a collection of clothes that were unsolicited designs. He showed the clothes on live models and when people bought his original designs he became a leading fashion design couturier of the Victorian era. Until that time fashion details and changes were suggested by the customers. The House of Worth became a leader of ideas for the next 30 years.

Haute Couture during the Victorian period was an ideal foil for conspicuous consumption. Fragile gauze dresses decorated with flowers and ribbons that were made for wealthy young women were only intended to be worn for one or two evenings and then cast aside as they soiled and crushed so easily. Silk flowers, froths of tulle and pleated gauze trims would have emphasised the innocence of virginal girls whilst signalling their availability on the marriage market. Such conspicuous waste and conspicuous...

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