Twice a year in Paris, fashion has its most exclusive, expensive and extraordinary moment: haute couture.
The literal French translation of “haute couture” is “high dressmaking” and it is a legally protected term that can only be used by brands approved by the French Ministry of Industry. The fashion houses that are part of this elite group must adhere to strict rules, which include having an atelier in Paris that employs at least 20 staff members, and making custom garments for private clients with one or more fittings.
Haute couture garments are made entirely by hand by the industry’s most skilled artisans and craftsman,and represent the best quality fashion money can buy. And yes, this comes at a price, with certain pieces valued at upwards of $100,000.
You can think of couture as the highest of high fashion, created by internationally renowned brands like Chanel and Christian Dior, as well as lesser-known ones such as Bouchra Jarrar and Elie Saab. In January and July each year, they all present painstakingly elaborate and extremely expensive designs to a handpicked audience of editors, buyers and clients.
And of course, there’s no better place to show off these creations than on the red carpet.