The Haute Couture Culture

Versace Haute Couture

As a lover of fashion throughout my life, I grew up throwing around terms like seams, pleats, and haute couture. Not really knowing the true definitions of the terms I grew to love, I incorporated them in my daily vocabulary to sound smart and (hopefully) chic. Because my fashion obsession has grown with age, I’ve gone through countless hours of research and blog posts about the topic to learn as much as I can about this passion. One of the main sections of fashion that has always interested me is haute couture.

Haute Couture (n): expensive, fashionable clothes produced by leading fashion houses.

To be a house of true couture, there are a few rules:

  • Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen staff members full-time.
  • Must have twenty, full-time technical people in at least one atelier (workshop).
  • Every season, present a collection of at least fifty original
    designs to the public, both day and evening garments, in January and
    July of each year.

In the movie above, filmmaker Margy Kinmonth researches and travels all over the world in search of the women in the elite haute couture (unspoken) club. She visits women of all ages that are selected to attend couture shows for fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior, Versace, etc, who own hundreds of thousands of dollars in clothes. Margy questions the members’ reasons behind spending $100,000 on a dress, but she has yet to find a true answer. The women are very secretive about their collections and their invitations to exclusive fashion shows, but one thing is true: they love their haute couture.

The problem with the culture is that the number of true haute couture houses and ateliers is dwindling. The richest women in the world that are known to purchase haute couture pieces can only shop at a few houses and ateliers, compared to the hundreds of fashion houses that existed in the past.

The haute couture culture is very hush hush and exclusive. The women that are able to buy the bespoke pieces are some of the luckiest women in the world with Karl and Raf (probably) on speed dial. As lovers of fashion, we all need to keep the haute couture culture alive in order to save the fashion world.