Vintage Haute Couture

Haute Couture is a French phrase for High Fashion. Couture means dressmaking, sewing, or needlework, and Haute means elegant, or high. Together, they imply superior artistry and precision of garments. Haute Couture is the top level of hand customized fashion design and clothing construction, made by a Couture Design House.

The official beginnings of Haute Couture began with Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman who moved to Paris in 1845. Others soon followed: Madame Gres, Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli, Coco Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, Charles James, Jeanne Lanvin, etc., as Haute Couture reached its peak between the 1940s and 50s.

Haute Couture pieces stand apart in that they are made exclusively for the wearer's body measurements, are virtually made by hand, carefully interlined, stay taped, and fitted to perfection, for each client. This is an extremely time consuming exercise, from 100 to 150 hours labour for a suit, up to 1000 hours for an embellished evening dress, which may be drizzling with thousands of hand-sewn beads.

It is not necessarily only Vintage Haute Couture, which is collectable. Often, custom-made garments that are unusual examples of an era's definition of fashion, style, and design, have equal value. Some collectors concentrate on buying Vintage Haute Couture only.

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