Haute Couture - Meaning & Significance

Fashion does not mean only wearing some stylish or attractively designed dresses but rather it goes much beyond. It starts from a designer’s dress and ends with the attitude of the respective person; and, in between, there is a wide range of things, including jewellery, footwear, belt, goggles, hat, tie, and many more. Interestingly, all these vary with the geographic region, as different geographic regions have different fashion styles. In addition to this, it also depends on the financial status of the wearer, as its prices start from a few dollars and there is no upper limit. During the early nineteenth century, one of the high-end fashions that originated in the first fashion capital of the world, Paris, France, is known as haute couture.

What is Haute Couture?

Haute and couture are two French terms with different meanings; "haut" means elegant or high, and "couture" means dress-making, sewing, or other needlework; now, both terms imply superbly designed wearable garments. In short, it is also known as high fashion. In fact, haute couture is the kind of fashion that is readily available but not in the market; rather, it is the creation of exclusive custom-fitted garments and other fashion accessories. Haute couture dresses are made on order.

Usually, affluent people give specific measurements of their bodies, and based on those, the fashion designer creates a particularly designed dress. The fabric used in making such dresses is of high quality and very expensive. Surprisingly, it is not only a matter of expensive fabric but also the fashion designer. As everyone cannot be a haute couture fashion designer, only well-qualified, experienced, and nationally or internationally recognized designers are the haute couture fashion designers. With the help of expensive machines, these designers cut and sew dresses with extreme care. They pay attention to every minor detail to finish it, and in doing so, it consumes too much time. For all these reasons, including the use of expensive fabric, computer-generated design, technologically advanced sewing machines, and time taken, as most of the work is done manually, haute couture fashion is very expensive.

It is believed that, in the real sense, the first couturier was Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman. He was truly a dynamic and enterprising man whose expertise in clothing design and dressmaking was very high and advanced. He depicted himself as an artist and an intermediary of taste. His whole intention was to understand what type of design would suit on the bodies of his clients. And, he was the one, who assimilated his skills with his clients’ demand and suitability to execute the customers’ order.

What is the Price Range of Haute Couture Garments?

The starting price of haute couture garments is very high. The price of a shirt may start from 700 dollars and go to a few thousand dollars; a suit's price may start from 10,000 dollars and may go to 35,000 or even 50,000 dollars. In addition to this, the prices of women’s dresses are much more expensive than men’s. Merely a blouse’s price may start from 8,000 dollars and goes to 30,000 dollars or even more. Kids’ wear is also very expensive. For example, couture flower girl dresses may cost you $40,000 or even more.

Why are the Prices of Haute Couture Garments So High?

For a common person, it is really very hard to appreciate why these dresses are so expensive. But there are some genuine reasons that make these dresses very expensive, such as: the fabric that is used in making such dresses is very expensive; the technology that is required for the sewing is expensive; the time required to make a single frock for a kid may be a few weeks to more than a month, as the majority of work is hand-executed; the environment where such dresses are made and sold has very expensive maintenance; and last but not the least, these haute couture fashion designers do not design many dresses and for everyone, but rather they have only a few specified clients. Likewise, they usually design two to four dresses a year. For all these reasons, the prices of haute couture garments are very high.

Who are the Customers of Haute Couture?

As we have already discussed the price range of haute couture fashion; so, it is pretty apparent that it is beyond the range of even upper middle class people. Only affluent people, such as high-profile celebrities, business people, and political leaders, are the customers of haute couture fashion.


Starting from Paris, in today’s world, haute couture designers and designs are present in every country. Their work is frequently seen on the runways of Paris, France, New York City, the United States, London, the United Kingdom, Milan, Italy, Mumbai, India, Tokyo, Japan, and many other cities around the world. These expensive dresses are worn by the people of affluent society, including high-profile political leaders, celebrities, business people, and members of the royal family.


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