Haute couture is one of the most misused terms in the fashion industry, so I thought we could go over the history of the term and what it means! Haute couture goes back hundreds of years and is a term that is heavily guarded. The Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, des Confectionneurs et des Tailleurs pour Dame (Chambre Syndicale for Couture, clothing manufacturers and tailors for women) was founded in 1868. On January 23rd, 1945 the term "Haute Couture", became legally registered, and then the Chambre Syndicale became the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. This Fédération now safeguards the name of haute couture as it is a legally protected name. Fashion houses are only granted the designation by the French Ministry of Industry.
As the FHCM (Fédération Française de la Couture) describes haute couture, "it is a permanent gateway between a tradition for excellence in know-how and contemporaneity in creation embodying today manufacturing techniques that are at the cutting edge of innovation." To simplify- it is made to measure, hand-crafted, and one-of-a-kind. Haute couture is only produced in Paris, by a handful of designers and presented twice a year, in January and July.