Yves Saint-Laurent, Hermès, Dior, Chanel and so many other similar houses are true emblems of haute couture symbolizing luxury in France. These big names are well known to us, but how did haute couture develop? What are these main characteristics? How are the clothes cared for? You will find all the answers to these questions in this article.
The fashion really appeared in the 17th century under the reign of Louis XVI. France and its capital quickly established themselves as precursors in this field. Over the years, fashion gradually became important to high society. The way you dress defines your social status. Thus, fashion is becoming more democratic and we see the appearance of what is called haute couture. The main characteristics of this new trend are the emphasis on real superior quality through the choice of textiles, freedom of expression in terms of designs and simply excellence. One of the precursors of haute couture is an Englishman, Charles Frederick Worth, who opened a first couture house in the French capital in 1858. First, he launched collections of unique pieces that would be used for parades with living models. or presented at social events. He organizes cyclical collections according to the seasons, it is a novelty at the time. Charles Frederick is therefore the initiator of the appellation “haute couture” which will become legally protected in 1945 and supervised by a federation. Indeed, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode brings together a hundred more prestigious brands with the aim of promoting French fashion in the world. This organization oversees the world of Haute Couture, in particular because it is the body that issues the Haute Couture label”. Overall, there are 16 houses that have this label. These can be paraded at haute couture fashion week, which takes place twice a year in the French capital. During this parade, there are other brands that parade that do not have this label. These are called “guest” brands. Haute couture is truly considered an art, as Guénolée Milleret so aptly puts it, and I quote “Like haute cuisine, haute couture is a pillar of the French way of life. The label guarantees that the parts are of high quality. If we lose this label, we risk dragging creation down” in his book Haute couture: History of the French design industry - From precursors to the present day. (2015). The specificity of this haute couture appellation designates an alliance between creative techniques, continuous innovation, unique and free creative universes, authentic know-how but above all the use of exceptional raw materials.
What differentiates fast-fashion and haute couture clothing are the textiles used. Fast-fashion brands necessarily use synthetic and artificial raw materials like spandex, polyester and similar materials. The question is purely economic since the use of these materials requires much lower costs, costs correlated with obviously lower quality. Fast-fashion pushes to overproduction thanks to low costs, leading to overconsumption and therefore the ever more regular presentation of new collections. Conversely, haute couture is a guarantee of quality, and this requires the use of more noble materials. The fabrics that are regularly found will be silk, linen, wool, cotton, leather or even cashmere. These materials are more expensive since, unlike fast-fashion, they are fabrics made of natural fibers, either vegetable (cotton, linen, hemp, jute, etc.) or animal (leather, silk, wool, cashmere, etc.). These materials will therefore be more fragile, more delicate but also very resistant and absorbent. They will allow a real expression of creativity, while committing to superior quality. These natural fiber fabrics, however, require more maintenance than fabrics used for ready-to-wear or fast-fashion. Indeed, haute couture clothes need special care. Some fabrics should not be washed too often, some must be washed at a specific temperature. Drying and storage are also factors conditioning the maintenance of the raw materials used. Indeed, each material requires specific maintenance that must be taken into account if you want to keep your unique pieces for as long as possible and in the best possible condition. It is necessary to be very conscientious and diligent not to commit the irreparable that could damage the garment without turning back possible.
This is why, in order to avoid any potential errors, it is strongly advised to entrust these garments to professionals working in luxury dry cleaners. Indeed, the advantage of luxury laundry is simple: the professionals know how to treat these materials with the techniques and products suitable for each fabric and each particularity without damaging the clothes in any way. So you can be sure that each garment receives a personalized treatment with the right techniques that only a specialized expert can perform. Many techniques are used such as dry cleaning for example. First, it is necessary to make an analysis of the fabric, and an in-depth examination of the condition of the given garment (verification of closures, buttons, all types of detail, etc.). This makes it possible to see if there are tasks, missing elements and above all to determine what types of fabrics the piece is made of to adapt a personalized treatment. Then, once the analysis is done, it is necessary to choose the product or products according to the fabric, or the origin of the stains... As its name suggests, it is a technique that differs from the classic washing process. since the different stages do not include the use of water at any time. It is a gentle technique, which consists of immersing the garment in the necessary solvents personalized according to the fabric, and then drying it with air, while removing the smell of the products on the clothes. Dry cleaning prioritizes respect for the quality of fabrics. Thus, haute couture is an art that has perpetuated authentic know-how in France for many decades. These are unique creations, using particular fabrics, requiring a personalized and quality maintenance requiring the visit of a luxury pressing. Indeed, this allows you to have access to the knowledge of specialists who will know how to treat your clothes in the right way. To keep them in good condition and preserve the fabrics, it is necessary to have recourse to the professionals of luxury dry cleaners.