|Image Courtesy of Vogue.com|
Haute Couture Week in Paris is happening this week (Jan 24th - Jan 27th). Pictured left is a stunning detail of Riccardo Tisci's collection for Givenchy, Spring 2011.
Since the late 80's the term haute couture has been misused so often that its true meaning has become mistaken with that of prêt-à-porter in the public perception. In reality, the label haute couture is a legally protected appellation which can be used only by couture houses chosen by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris based in Paris, France (created in 1868 by Englishman Charles Worth). The fashion houses have to meet certain criteria including designing a made to order for private clients comprising of one or more fittings, have an atelier in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time, and each season the house must present a collection to the Paris press comprising of at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.
Today only 2,000 women in the world buy couture clothes, of which 60% are American. Though only 200 women in the world are regular customers. In general, haute couture is not a highly profitable business, but is able to continue its operations even in downturns in the economy.
Today's major haute couture shows during Paris Fashion Week:
Jean Paul Gaultier