Want to know exactly what couture means? O you know the difference between French couture and Haute couture? Our guide gives you facts & information about French fashion that you’ll surely want to know.
French, French, everywhere there seems a profusion of things French – from the French Language to French Wine to French Cuisine to French Perfume. Everything French seems to be superlative and also directed to titillate one of the senses. And French Couture is not an exception. Wine or Perfume is obvious but exactly what is Couture? Literally, Couture means to sew, to make clothes, to make things. Figuratively Couture means fashion.
French Couture History
“Dressing is a way of life”. So said Yves Henri Donat Mathieu Saint Laurent, a fashion designer from France and, right from the days of yore, the French have been in the forefront of dressing and fashion. French fashion really made its presence in the international scene since the 18th. century, when the dresses worn by the monarchy began to be adopted and adapted by people all over Europe. French fashion had a further boost to its popularity when, in the mid Forties, Christian Dior created and introduced the “New Look” line of clothes. In the eleven years before his death in 1957, the dictates of fashion were laid down by Dior. Each of his designs were based on a theme, like the classic suit, the ballerina skirt and the H, A and Y lines that ruled the Fifties. This was taken over by Yves Saint Laurent after Dior’s death.
Yves brought in his own style of dressmaking. Yves Saint Laurent or “YSL” is probably famous for his “Le Smoking” tuxedo jacket and the see-through blouses etc. The basic shapes of the masculine wardrobe such as tuxedos etc. were feminized by Laurent and it was he who adapted, not only the male tuxedo for women, but also the flying suits, the safari jackets and the pea jackets.
Present day couture houses include Balmain, Chanel, Givenchy, Ungaro, Féraud, Gaultier, Lacroix and Scherrer.
Couture Vs Haute Couture
Contrary to French Haute Couture or French High Fashion (“Haute” meaning “High”), which catered to the very rich, with dresses that crossed the $10,000 mark, French Couture catered to the middle class and did not restrict itself to dresses but also forged into handbags, shoes etc. In fact, Christian Dior was originally famous for his hats.
Other than the normal dresses, French couture includes a variety of garments such as lounge suits, coats, capes and also beachwear. Noticeably feminine in touch and sophistication, the designs accentuate the sensual and seductive attraction of women, while at the same moment depicting them as symbols of modern independence.
Fashion is a non-verbal communication of the inner expressions of both individuals and groups. French couture in all of its forms is the best visual way of expressing individuality making a person either easy or difficult to understand. French Couture designs are striking in their freshness and radiance. They have been and they are the source of inspiration for designers all over the world and still rule the roost.