Haute couture first took off in the second half of the 19th century. One of the earliest couturiers was Charles Frederick Worth, who is often considered the father of couture today. He was an Englishman who set up a shop in Paris and was not always taken very seriously. Another famous name in couture was Paul Poiret, who was active in the early 20th century. His designs reflected Oriental influences and a world of fantasy.
|Dress by Paul Poiret, said to be the first couture dress without a corset|
It was not long before women began to rise as top couturières, including Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli. Chanel was an important icon, notable for chic and innovative fashion.
|Coco Chanel at work|
The post-World War II period saw the continued success of couture, including the establishment of Christian Dior's couture house. This period of time was considered a golden age for couture as roughly 15,000 women were customers at the time. Today, that number has decreased to 2,000 and some suspect that haute couture will eventually fade away. I, for one, hope that it will stay around for a long time because the results can be truly beautiful and it's an irreplaceable art.