Buying Your Next Haute-Couture Dress

It is a well-known fact that fashion and costume history would not be the same without Haute Couture. The phrase Haute Couture has French origins, and it means high fashion. While couture refers to the art of sewing, dressmaking or needlework, Haute literally translates to high or elegant. 

Origins and History of Haute Couture

The Haute Couture system has its origins in the late seventeenth century in France, when the country became the European hub for rich and luxurious textiles. Within this system, a fashion designer, or a couturier, is one whose name has been established as an international authority for crafting luxurious and custom-tailored clothing. This system also gave rise to designer labels in fashion, as identifiable names of prominent couturiers’ were discreetly sewn into the dresses. 

The Spring-Summer 2021 Haute Couture Show— CHANEL Shows

The term Haute Couture is rigidly defined and legally protected since 1945 by the French Ministry of Industry. Currently, Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne has certified 16 grand couturiers. 

  1. Adeline Andre
  2. Alexandre Vauthier
  3. Alexis Mabille
  4. Bouchra Jarrar
  5. Chanel
  6. Christian Dior
  7. Frank Sorbier
  8. Julien Fournié
  9. Giambattista Valli
  10. Givenchy
  11. Jean Paul Gaultier
  12. Maison Martin Margiela
  13. Maison Rabih Kayrouz
  14. Maurizio Galante
  15. Schiaparelli
  16. Stephane Rolland

Besides these, there are also 7 foreign members, which include Azzedine Alaia, Elie Saab, Fendi Couture, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Versace and Viktor & Rolf. 

Making Of Georges Hobeika Haute Couture Collection

Buying a Haute Couture dress

As Haute Couture dresses are made-to-order pieces, the first step towards buying an exclusive dress would be to make an appointment with a couture house. After securing an appointment, a vendeuse is tasked with helping the client through the order process. Every haute couture dress is tailored according to the requirements of each client, which is why the client needs to go through a comprehensive fitting process. The vendeuse ensures the highest standards in the craft and design of the dress. It is only after the final inspection that the garment is released to the client.

Cost of a Haute Couture dress

A Haute Couture dress from a high-end design home can cost anywhere between £10,000 to £40,000, and sometimes even beyond that. The manual labour that goes into crafting the garment takes between 100-150 hours and even up to 1000 hours for an embellished evening dress.  

How A Dior Haute Couture Collection Comes To Life


The couture houses use only the most luxurious and novelty fabrics for crafting dresses. These may include cashmere, silk, wool, expensive cotton, linens and suede, among many.

Buying a Haute Couture dress is akin to collecting a work of art. There is also the novelty of owning a custom-made garment specially tailored to suit your preferences, needs, and personal tastes.

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