As a starting point for my newly developed brainwave, I went to the library and found some books on Haute Couture. I haven’t had much interaction this this part of the industry. I know of brief history such as House of Worth and the basics about couture methods, but in order to write about this I need to look deeper than the surface.
I started looking historically at the beginnings of Haute Couture. I found that it did intact begin as I suspected with Charles Frederick Worth after he established his first couture house in Paris 1858. Where he made exclusive items for wealthy, upper class women. He coined the term ‘Fashion Designer’ and now is often referred to as the Father of Couture.
Worth was from Lincolnshire, England, his career began by working for textile merchants in London that quickly led him to France. Paris in particular has always been called the fashion capital of the world with a vast majority of the most well known designers originating or settling there. In Paris he worked in a shop selling ready made garments, after becoming the head salesman, he added a dressmaking department.
This was when he began to make his name as a dress maker, he won competitions in both London & Paris which led him to 1858 when he decided to go it alone.
Luckily for Worth, the newly appointed Emperor’s wife was a fashionable woman who took a liking to Worth & his fashions. She was a trendsetter which helped build Worth’s success.
Worth also displayed collections on live models & would create entire wardrobes for clients from nightwear to wedding gowns. He was a true sensation of his time.
This has taught me a lot about the birth of haute couture and how fashion design ultimately began. Before it would’ve been seamstresses & tailors but he opened a new door that as modern day confirms was a large success! It also confirmed that couture was really a luxury for the wealthy and upper class which identifies the social views of that period. It also identified public figures as trend setters which is an important part of the culture at that time. Of course, when it comes to couture today, not much has changed. It is still a fashion for the rich & famous.
I am going to move forward on the couture timeline and see who else had a hand in building this exclusive side of the industry.