Haute Couture ? What does it even mean?!

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How not to be fooled by the word “couture”?  

For the unacquainted, the fashion world may seem daunting, considering the number of complicated and ambiguous terminologies the industry likes to use. No wonder some people still think espadrille is a Mexican dish.  

But one fashion term that is exploited and misinterpreted the most is ‘couture’/ 'haute couture'. The fancy French word exudes panache and exclusivity. Couture is held highly prestigious, so much so that the fashion magazine Vogue once defined couture clothing as ‘walking pieces of art’ 

Who doesn’t want elite and super-exclusive designer clothing that's made from the finest fabrics and fits like a dream? We suspect there will be many hands raised on this. Everyone wants to look their best, and this desire is what storefront and online boutiques often exploit by loosely working the word couture in their sales pitch in order to compel women to make a purchase.  

Using the word couture for any run-of-the-mill clothing is not only inaccurate, but also unethical. By doing this, stores are misleading their shoppers into purchasing regular collections at much higher prices.

Know what couture actually means 

Couture refers to the fashion that is preliminarily sketched by a big designer for a private client and precisely crafted by a team of expert seamstresses. Couture or Haute Couture is ultra-exclusive because designers have to obtain approval from The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris before they can officially produce a collection. And as you might have figured, that’s not an easy feat to achieve 

Since couture pieces are so ridiculously exclusive, they also come with a price tag hefty enough to make Carrie Bradshaw reach out for a bag of tissues. They usually cost in thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars and that is why only about 2000 (you read that right) people in the world purchase couture apparel annually. Unless you own a few islands or a small nation, or two, it’s unlikely that you will be able to get your hands on any of the couture collections as its buyers are in the topmost division of wealth.  

The dominions and extremely high prices can make owning couture clothing a far-off fantasy for you. But hold your tears – there’s an alternative. Rather than buying counterfeits or cheap knock-offs, you can purchase mass-produced collections from the same line of clothing that designs the best couture. Take Armani for example – they make accessible and affordable clothing inspired from the couture produced by their sister brand Armani Exchange. This way you can have fashionable clothes that not only have the design aesthetics of couture, but also the artistic vision behind it. 

So ladies, the next time you're trying on one of the popular prom brands, such as Sherry Hill, JovaniNicole Bakti, Angela&Alison, Faviana, and a sales person uses "Couture/Haute Couture" in there sales pitch, you are being deceived. If one is in search for a true couture gown you are better off to pay a seamstress or a local designer to produce you an authentic piece. 


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