What the hell is "haute couture"?

October 16, 2015

Haute couture...about six months ago my first thought would be repeating the word "haute" in my head trying to figure out if it was pronounced hote, hot, owt, ought, or oat. I thought haute couture was ridiculous, no one would ever wear these expensive designer pieces, what was the point of parading them on models and being looked at by buyers? I mean have you seen some of this stuff???

The thing that somehow I never got, was that fashion is an art form. Just like art, some pieces might be simple and hung in your bathroom to please the eye, but some pieces might be a tangled mess of paint and string sprawling over a paper that's meant to be hung in a museum to question the eye. In this analogy, haute couture is the latter, it's meant to push the boundaries of fabric and texture and serve as an inspiration to other designers. So these photos above were eventually translated into the clothes below.

Now while all of these clothes are cute and inspired by the shapes, colors and fabrics of the haute couture garments, they aren't exactly inspiration in themselves. It takes something bold and unique to create inspiration and spark that idea in a designers brain.
So this is how haute couture comes into play. It's also just fun to watch if you step back and don't just view it as clothes on a person but fashion making a statement. 

Go ahead and find a haute couture designer you like (if you'd like a post on some designers and their styles leave me a comment!) and see where you find their styles incorporated into. Or where do your favorite designers get their inspiration from?

The history of haute couture really starts in the mid 1800s with Charles Worth, also known as the "father haute couture". He was from England but moved to Paris to grow the new enterprise of "haute couture"...if you've ever heard of 'The House of Worth', this is where it all began.

Although "officially" couture can be dated back to the 1700s to Marie Antoinette, it didn't really become a theme of fashion until Worth. Currently, in Paris, "haute couture" is defined by legal means, and a house must meet these conditions to be considered haute couture, although in French "haute couture" literally means "high sewing".

Personally, my favorite haute couture collections are from Jean Paul Gaultier, I just went to a great exhibition in Paris on him and he really can reach every corner of the imagination. He has fantasy, punk, sex appeal and historical influence.

Want to know more about haute couture? Or maybe fast fashion is more your thing? Comment what you want to read next.

...oh and it's pronounced oat koo-ture.

You Might Also Like