Haute Couture

Tip-Toeing Around The Origin

‘I saw a lot of Haute Couture all my childhood, and without knowing it, I’ve learned from when I was a child to recognize beautiful fabrics.’

— Ines de La Fressange

Haute Couture:

When we say Haute Couture, the picture that revolves in front is the beautiful fabrics with equally mesmerizing appliques, embellishments and a complicated hand made outfit. Sometimes clearlky unconventional to wear! But, what makes Haute Couture the most important work variation in the dressmaking industry? Let’s go walking about a few origin facts…

Brassai- Haute Couture Soiree- 1935 (Source- https://onlyoldphotography.tumblr.com )

The entire concept of ‘High Dressmaking’ (Haute Couture – French translation) started in 17th Century by Rose Bertin, a personal designer to the Queen Marie Antoinette of France. But the real attention to the French Fashion Industry was brought in by Charles Fredrick Worth in 17th Century, when he created a fashion house for Couture.

Charles Fredrick Worth – Father Of Haute Couture

The Process:

The making of a Couture garment starts from the scratch. It takes immense detailing and client wishing for fabric selection till the final embellishment of a garment. It also includes the hand crafting, stitching and fitting of the garment. As it is made-to-order, the outfit is not repeated and the pricing is never considered relevant.

Pierre Balmain adjusting gown for Ruth Ford- 1947

The Couturiers:

Following the footsteps of the Fredrick, several house have come out and have placed their wonderful signature style across the world. Some of the bright names are Patau, Poiret, Vionnet, Fotuny, Lanvin, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent & Dior.

25th April 1950: Fashion couturier Christian Dior (1905 – 1957), designer of the ‘New Look’ and the ‘A-line’, with six of his models after a fashion parade at the Savoy Hotel, London. (Photo by Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images)
Coco Chanel (https://www.marieclaire.co.uk/fashion/coco-chanel-s-25-snappiest-quotes-54026)
Paul Poiret ( https://www.heroine.com/the-editorial/poiret-masterclass )
Elsa Schiaparelli ( https://fromthebygone.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/elsa-schiaparelli-mad-original-fashion-designer/ )

These iconic designers have paved a path for every modern designer and Couturier to make a mark and leave the world of Haute Couture in an awe!

The Magic of Thread On Fabric


In every couture workmanship, the signature is all given down by a tedious thread and a needle’s rhythmic task. The entire world of couture lays rested on the unique rendering of the fabric with a variety of embellishments.

Source: Pinterest

The Basic Planning:

Before any outfit is out and worn, a basic plan is always the start up point. The seamstress will always be planning out on a grafting sheet the basic outline of the garment and try to align it on the body form. Perfect shaping and fabric molding is taken under consideration as the boning shows the exact fabric cuts and turns.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/355221489330542945/?lp=true


Later, using the Basting stitch and pins, the main fabric is attached to the body form. Silhouette is checked with the illustration and is given the markings for the stitch lines. This helps in the clearance of the stitching lines, gathers, ruffles and also layers.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/398287160773625862/?lp=true


The entire ensemble is taken up to the sewing machine and is laid down to get stitched with lining, boning and all layers included. A couture gown not being a simple outfit is always a work of craftsmanship. And before the top most layer is attached the entire hand work is done according to the theme of the collection. Multiple layers are added at the end to give it a definitive look as per the Couture standards.


Fittings is a very important stage in any couture house. As a garment made in couture house is custom made product and it made according to the given person’s size. And because it is made completely by hand, the piece made is never repeated again.


Whilst the fitting is completed the Edging is taken down. The edges of a couture garment need the finishing and proper alignment as it is a one of a kind piece. It takes immense amount of time, fabric and patience to complete one grand piece.

The Grand Piece:

Once the piece is ready it is all set to go on a ramp or the red carpet occasion. Every Couture house signs up for its own signature and style. And with great effort the image is maintained among the peers and competitors.

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