THE DEFINITION OF HAUTE COUTURE?
Haute Couture is like Champagne, an “appellation contrôlée” as the French say, which means that the name’s use is rigidly defined, strictly controlled and legally protected since 1945. This means that only fashion brands that have been granted the designation by the French Ministry of Industry can actually use it (though plenty of brands are using the term .rather liberally)
The brands that enjoy the Haute Couture label are reviewed annually and judged on whether they create made-to-order dresses and other garments for private clients, whether they have an atelier in Paris employing at least 15 people and whether they are presenting collections twice a year with a minimum number of outfits.
WHICH BRANDS CAN USE THE LABEL HAUTE COUTURE?
There are currently 15 grand couturiers: Adeline Andre, Alexandre Vauthier, Alexis Mabille, Chanel, Christian Dior, Frank Sorbier, Julien Fournié, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Martin Margiela, Maurizio Galante, Schiparelli, Stephane Rolland , and Yiqing Yin.
The Chambre Syndicale also count six correspondant (or foreign) members: Azzedine Alaia, Elie Saab, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Versace and Viktor & Rolf.
Each year, the Fédération Française de la Couture also invites “guest members” to present during the two annual couture weeks.
In January 2019 the following designers will be members: Balmain Paris. Aganovich, Antonio Grimaldi, Azzaro Couture, Christophe Josse, Georges Hobeika , Guo Pei, Iris Van Herpen, Maison Rabih Kayrouz, Ralph&Russo,, RVDK/Ronald Van Der Kemp, Ulyana Sergeenko, Xuan, Yuima Nakazato et Zuhair Murad
HOW MUCH CRAFTSMANSHIP GOES INTO A HAUTE COUTURE PIECE?
It will depend on the level of embellishment but some pieces can take upwards of 700 hours to create, as each is hand sewn.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
It really depends on the level of embellishment. Day wear usually starts at around $20,000, though it does depend on the brand [Chanel Haute Couture usually cost between $40,000-80,000], while bridal can easily cost $100,000-150,00, depending on the level of embellishments.
WHEN ARE THE COUTURE PRESENTATIONS?
The couture shows occur twice a year in Paris, in January and July. The next season will be January 20 to January 24, 2020.
HOW LONG YOU BEEN HAVE WRITING ABOUT COUTURE?
I attended my first couture show in 2012 and have attended nearly every seasons since then.
YOU ALSO TALK ABOUT ABOUT NON-COUTURE BRANDS?
Yes, over the years, I've discovered many brands in Asia and the Middle East that are not "haute couture" as defined by the Chambre Syndicale, but are still offering a very high-level of craftsmanship and customisation. Some of them, like Guo Pei, have since become invited members!.
DO YOU SELL COUTURE PIECES?
To cover the costs of running the site, I am featuring affiliation links via ShopStyle Collective, a well-established affiliate platform. I do not sell directly these high-end pieces.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me using the contact form.