Haute Couture is Modern Art


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Judeia Holladay, Reporter

Haute couture, (pronounced /ˌōt ko͞oˈto͝or/), is a category within fashion where leading fashion houses such as Chanel or Dior create one-of-a-kind garments completely by hand, start to finish, season after season. The breakneck speed of the industry demands constant innovation and perfect craftsmanship.

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In order for a label to be considered as Haute Couture under French law, the French Couture Federation has set standards that are expected to be met by these prestigious fashion houses. Some of the notable requirements are presenting 50 unique designs every fashion season year-round of both day and evening wear, as well as being able to attract private collectors or consumers to employ at least 15 staff members full time. The unique nature of each individual garment, along with the remarkable attention to detail and craftsmanship, makes these clothes wearable art.

When a piece of fine art sells for an outrageous amount of money no one is surprised, but many of those people would consider that same attitude towards these Haute couture garments as outrageous or irrational. However, it can take hundreds of hours worth of labor in those French ateliers to construct each one of a kind garment, making them as unique and rare as fine art.

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Another misconception is that all Haute couture garments are super flamboyant and crazy, but it really depends on the Fashion house and design philosophy for the time. Many garments are extremely wearable and practical just look at  Chanel’s  Fall/winter 2019-2020 show.

I personally feel that all Haute couture made garments are wearable art as they each have one of a kind detailing and each tells a story and is associated with a fashion house that holds a legacy in and of itself. Each show has its own themes and atmospheres as well with the garments contributing to the overall artistic message the designer may be trying to send. More people should appreciate couture as art because it truly is the highest form of art in fashion and is quite possibly the last form of quality artisanal made clothing in the world.