December 8, 2009 - 12 comments

To be or not to be…..Couture

Lacroix 4 Lacroix Autumn Winter 2009

For a long time I've wanted to raise the issue of the use and misuse of the word Couture.

Everything seems to be Couture today. High street t-shirts covered in glitter, fake snake skin shoes,  and even oversized gaudy costume jewellery.

It's like a's added to describe anything and everything, making it's definition confusing and misleading

This is not Couture and definitely not Haute Couture

Haute couture refers to the creation of exclusive clothing, made to order for a specific customer, and is  made from high-quality fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish.


"In France, the term Haute Couture is protected by law.

 To earn the right to call itself a couture  house, members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture must follow these rules:

  • Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
  • Each season (i.e., twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear. "

Not everyone can work from Paris, nor have 15 employees. But this should set a standard for its definition and use.

Shouldn't the term Couture - Haute Couture be protected by law, worldwide?

 I think it should......

Published by: eilisboyle in Inspiration


Jane Flanagan
December 8, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Yes! I wrote a column about this very thing a few years ago (basically making the same argument).

For some reason, referring to RTW as couture bothers me more than the highstreet. Just the other day I heard a woman in a Prada store saying ow she loves a little haute couture. And I’m thinking, before you spend $400 on a wallet, you might understand the difference…

I have a similar, but less clear-cut rant about how everything used is referred to as vintage nowadays… 🙂

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Silent Storyteller
December 8, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Oh Jane… so very true…the vintage abuse is just as bad! Old rags that were used,as cloth, for cleaning windows are called vintage…

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Miss Cavendish
December 8, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Indeed! I took issue when Rent the Runway, which rents RTW, was presented as dealing in couture, by the New York Times, no less!

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Silent Storyteller
December 8, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Miss Cavendish…even credible sources are culprits of this crime…and is probably the reason why I was compelled to write about it…

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December 8, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Yes, I have become a bit confused lately… Perhaps the word is being taken over because it’s so hard for Haute Couture to survive these days?

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Silent Storyteller
December 8, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Yes, but maybe this is why we need to protect the term even more..

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helen james
December 8, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Couture now refers to a velour tracksuit as far as a majority of people are concerned! I do agree with Jane that RTW should know better/ have more respect. I don’t see this law being passed any time soon though.

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Silent Storyteller
December 8, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I had to try…. The eternal defender of lost causes…. ; )

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December 12, 2009 at 9:55 am

I actually heard a stylist claim that Tesco had a’Bespoke’ cpllection of clothing and that River Island had introduced a ‘Couture’ range of shoes.I have been ranting about this (along with many other rants) forever and I so agree with you about this.

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Term papers
April 2, 2010 at 7:07 am

Indeed! she is Queen b/c this dress like a queen dress.

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May 10, 2010 at 7:52 pm

in indonesia,even the new comer designer who even just remake and sometimes copied dress or even the magazine say them couturier,i’m still learning about haute couture,but i think term couture-haute couture should protect by law – worldwide


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Tiffany Marshal
November 29, 2010 at 9:09 am

Fashion is slightly strange this days, and Couture has become a name for all kinds of everyday clothing items that are out of the ordinary. People need to revise this industry completely.

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