History of Haute Couture Fashion

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Find out the history of haute couture fashion; learn about haute couture fashion in this free video on fashion design.

Part of the Video Series: Haute Couture Fashion
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Video Transcript

In terms of the history of "couture", "couture", like I said, developed in France and historically "couture" was, and is, rather expensive, kind of off-the-charts expensive. You can get a dress for $90,000 and it would be very feasible because it's like a group of people making something and it's taking hours, and hours, and hours to complete and it's a one-of-a-kind thing. I would say it's similar to a painting. So, anyway, as far as the history goes it originated in France with Noblemen and women, Royalty, and High Society would order things and they were the only ones that could be within reach to something that was truly "couture". However, Charles Frederick Worth, in the early part of the nineteenth century, he had the House of Worth, which I'm sure if you've heard of anything in fashion you've heard of that. The House of Worth was a place where he would take his entire portfolio of coutured gowns of his one-of-a-kind ideas, and he would invite a bunch of people over and they would sit and watch a little fashion show at the House of Worth. About, I don't know, maybe ten of his dresses would come out on different models and people would watch and they would choose and say, "I want model number three and I want it in green instead of blue and here are my measurements." Then he would take it to his work room with his crew of expert tailors and expert artisans and he would make that for that specific person. And, that was really when "ready-to-wear" was kind of developing so it was the first time that "couture" turned into something that was more "ready to wear", or at least along those lines where it was something that wasn't just specifically made for that specific person because he had those dresses already made and maybe three people might order model number three's dresses and maybe one would be red, one would be green, and another one would be blue for example, so it really wouldn't be a "one-of-a-kind" thing. However, I'm sure he put specific stipulations on making them more towards "one-of-a-kind? because he was dealing with a specific high echelon of clientele.

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