Home Q&A The Beginning of Couture Apparel

The Beginning of Couture Apparel

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France was where the couture fashion industry initially got its start. French designers in the early days produced only the most exquisite and high-quality fashions for their clients. Today couture apparel lives on, not only in France, but throughout the world of high fashion. Its history is fascinating and something that deserves attention.

European fashion houses in the 18th century imitated French designers because they wanted only the most exquisite clothing to be worn by their most elite and wealthy clients. People from all over Europe went to France and purchased apparel that they then took back to their country to be copied. The outstanding reputation of French designers was known throughout the land and anyone who was anyone wanted to be seen in French influenced apparel. Designers in France also made mock-up versions of their clothing designs, dressed dolls in the mocked up apparel and sent the dolls on to other locations in Europe.

Travel throughout Europe increased as railroad and steamship lines became more and more available. People with money were able to actually go to the design houses in France and buy the couture clothing they so desperately wanted. No longer did they have to wear copied clothing made by the less-than-perfect designers in their own countries.

High-end French fashion was envied by everyone and it was in demand by wealthy customers all over the world. The one-of-a-kind garments were made to fit customers perfectly, out of colors and fabrics of their own choosing. Couture meant “special” to elite clientele – “ready to wear” garments were left for those less fortunate and poorer customers.

As the years went by, many elite fashion houses surfaced in Paris including Dior and Chanel. The French designers of exclusive couture apparel continue today to be the choice of wealthy customers in Europe, America and all over the world. Fashions by elite designers are seen routinely on movie stars and other celebrities walking the “red carpet” at Hollywood and other artistic events.

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