Haute Couture or Not Couture
By Ariele Elia
The founders of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture established an exclusive trade union in 1868 that would come to include couture houses such as Chanel, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. These houses produced one of a kind garments of the highest quality for their clients. The French phrase haute couture translates to high sewing or high dressmaking, which refers to the superior standard these garments are made by. In the twenty first century the phrase haute couture has been degraded to a buzzword on everyone’s lips. We live in a time of excess, where information on fashion is readily available through the mass media; however the sources supplying this information and misinformation is not necessarily authorities on the subject. Ready-to-wear lines like Juicy Couture and reality television shows like Jersey Couture are examples of this. The ignorance regarding the history of the word has perpetuated many myths that surround the word. This paper will show how this term has come to be used and abused by the general public.