A to Z of Fashion – (Haute Couture)

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Haute Couture is a much-misused phrase that actually has very specific rules for qualification. Translated literally, couture is French for dressmaking, while haute means high. These are garments created as one off pieces for a specific client. 19th century Englishman Charles Frederick Worth is considered as the father of Haute Couture and today members are selected by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. To qualify as an official Haute Couture house, members must design made-to-order clothes for private clients, with more than one fitting, using an atelier (workshop) that employs at least fifteen fulltime staff. They must also have twenty fulltime technical workers in one of their workshops. Finally, Haute Couture houses must present a collection of no less than 50 original designs — both day and evening garments — to the public every season, in January and July.

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