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SCHIAPARELLI Photo: Kim Weston Arnold / Indigitalimages.com

It’s that time again in Paris. Today was Day 3 of the Fall 2015 Haute Couture shows and we thought it would be fun to provide you with some great talking points and to reveal a few of our favorites from the early shows.  We will follow up with still more favorites over the next few days.

First, let’s cover some history and definition. What exactly is haute couture? In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and defined by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne based in Paris.  This  regulating commission determines which fashion houses are eligible to be designated true haute couture houses.  The words haute couture literally translate in English to “high fashion” and only those companies included on the list drawn up each year by a commission housed at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to use the label haute couture.

For you history buffs, the Chamber is an association of Parisian couturiers founded in 1868 as an outgrowth of medieval guilds. The organization’s formation was brought about by Charles Frederick Worth, an Albion, who arrived in Paris in the mid 19th Century and later opened his own fashion house. The concept of haute couture was in many respects promoted by the image of Paris as Europe’s showcase at that time. Beauties of the European imperial courts including the first wife of Napoleon, Empress Eugenie, and Elizabeth of Austria dazzled at society balls wearing Mr. Worth’s exclusive designs.

While actual haute couture is in general a philosophy and culture of clothing reserved for a narrow window of consumers (less than 2000 women worldwide), the “concept” has taken on broader meaning. Often high fashion serves to indicate the likely direction of fashion as it applies to ready-to-wear in upcoming collections. It allows for experimentation with techniques and materials. Concepts in garments seen on the haute couture runway morph into repeated themes seen in ready-to-wear.

Several criteria exist which were established in 1945 and updated in 1992. A couture house must follow these rules to qualify to earn the designation haute couture:

  • Designs must be made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris which employs at least 15 full-time staff (official members), some designers are included whose atelier is elsewhere e.g. Armani (correspondent member)
  • Must present a collection of at least 35 original designs to the public, including both day and evening gowns, in January and July of each year

AND NOW for a few of our favorites from Day 1 and Day 2…

 

SCHIAPARELLI

Photos: Kim Weston Arnold / Indigitalimages.comSchialfallC2015silkbomber

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ULYANA SERGEENKO

PHOTOS: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com_ULY0550
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GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

Photos: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com_ULY1926

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CHRISTIAN DIOR

Photos: Yannis Vlamos / Indigitalimages.com_DIO0817
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