What Is Couture?

The word couture is one that's been overused to a point that it's become associated with a clothing company that makes most of its profit selling terry cloth sweatsuits. Thankfully that's a trend that seems to be dying out but unfortunately it seems that its association with the word couture is here to stay, at least for now. But the point of this post is to educate and hopefully do its part to rid of all the misconceptions about couture.The word couture itself translates to sewing or dressmaking in French. Thus the phrase "haute couture" translates to "high sewing," or "high dressmaking." According to wikipedia, to be defined as a couture house, you must meet certain specifications

  • 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.
These shows happen between the Fall and Spring ready-to-wear shows, and just so happen to be going on right now. Potential clients sit in the audience and pick their favorite designs, then come in for a fitting with the design team. It is during this time that alterations and modifications are made to the design, and eventually the client receives their perfect garment, along with a hefty bill.
Alright, now that you understand couture a little bit more, it's time for the fun part! I've picked some of my favorites from the Haute Couture shows so far.


To see the rest,
Christian Dior

Christian Lacroix


To see all the looks so far, go to http://www.style.com/fashionshows/collections/F2008CTR/runwayshows/index.html

All pictures from Style.com

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