THE WORD “COUTURE” AND ITS MISUSE

Angela Campagnoni, From Heels to Highchairs

THE WORD “COUTURE” AND ITS MISUSE

The often regarded beautiful and glamorous word “couture” has often been misunderstood and also misused on many occasions. I can say that it has actually been striped totally of its very original meaning and the result is that it is being used on an everyday basis and on every clothing line, including street wear.

  • Basic meaning

The term “couture”, refers to the business of making, designing and selling fashionable and custom made women’s clothing. Couture is not to be confused with “haute couture” which means the creation of high end fashion and exclusive custom fitted clothing.

  • Origin

The term “haute couture” originated from the French language which means high sewing, high dressmaking or high fashion

  • Pronunciation

Couture is pronounced as koo-TOOR, while haute couture is pronounced as oht koo-TOOR.

  • Protection

In France, use of the term “haute couture” is regulated by the law and it is also protected. It is defined in France by the Paris Chamber of Commerce. In order to use the term in advertising and in any other way, a fashion house must adhere to certain rules.

A fashion house must be able to design made-to-order clothes for private clients, must be having a workshop that employs at least fifteen people on a full time basis and must present a collection to the Paris press each season comprising of not less than 35 runs with outfits for both evening and daytime wear.

  • Misuse

The major misconception that people have about the use of the terms “couture” and “haute couture” is that they apply to made-to-order and also handmade garments irrespective of where they are designed. This isn’t correct because it leads to a very loose interpretation of these terms. Ironically, other fashion houses who should know better add up to the already existing confusion by naming their collections as haute couture. The fashion industry seems to probably add fuel to the mystery associated with these two words in order to create more buzz about their products.

While custom made is usually the most operative word in the definition of the word “couture”, the term is often used and applied in a wanton manner by these fashion designers and the likely purpose is to bait customers into buying fashion pieces that are neither custom created nor high fashion.

To put an end to the rampant misuse of the terms “couture” and “haute couture”, it should be known that they can only be used to define and describe dressmaking and clothing. Using the words to describe anything related to art or music is utterly inappropriate. End rant 😉

 

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