What is Haute Couture?

If you Google the definition of Haute Couture, you’ll find is says:

  • expensive, fashionable clothes produced by leading fashion houses.
  • the designing and making of haute couture clothing.

And actually, there is a difference between plain Couture and Haute Couture.  If you translate it literally, the word couture is French for dressmaking, and the word haute means high.  But when you put the two words together, it doesn’t just mean high dressmaking for Haute Couture has very specific requirements.  Haute Couture pieces are created as one-of-a-kind for a specific client. 

Believe it or not, there is a father of Haute Couture, Charles Frederick Worth of the House of Worth, a 19th century Englishman who liked to create pieces with lavish fabrics and trimmings.  Worth gained notoriety when Empress Eugenie, Napoleon’s wife, used him has her dressmaker beginning in the 1860’s.

There are rules when it comes to being labeled as a Haute Couture fashion house.  To qualify, members must make custom pieces for private clients with more than one fitting, have a shop that employs at least 15 fulltime employees and 20 fulltime technical workers, and present at least 50 original designs every January and July.  Some Haute Couture names you might recognize include Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Versace, Valentino, Armani, and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Shores, with its professionally trained staff and state-of-the-art equipment, is uniquely qualified to provide specialized cleaning for Haute Couture fashions.  We are also a member of the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute, which keeps us current with industry standards and training.  When a custom piece like this arrives at our store, we would do the following:

  • Measure the garment prior to cleaning in order to assure it is returned the same size.
  • Remove or cover buttons and embellishments to protect against cracking and breaking.
  • Pre-treat each stain then custom clean the garment.
  • Hand-finish the item with low-temperature irons and presses.
  • Hand-block the item if it is knit. 
  • Provide an additional hand inspection.
  • Gently stuff the sleeves and folds with tissue. 
  • Provide customer-tailored packaging.

Haute Couture garments are handmade one-of-a-kind pieces that require specialized, individualized care that only Shores has the training and ability to provide.  Stop by one of our three convenience locations, and let our trained experts lovingly care for your special garment.