Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Birth of Haute Couture

Founded in 1858 on the Rue de la Paix in Paris, the House of Worth was the first haute couture house (something impressive for those times). Its founder was Charles Frederick Worth (1826-1895) who with his partner, Otto Boberg, a Swedish textile merchant, decided to change the rules of fashion that governed and the relationship between the designer and the customer acquired a different concept, very modern if we consider that we are talking about the mid-nineteenth century. The idea was that the splendid Victorian women would go to the workshop to buy his designs, and with this a new revolution took place (we must always give thanks to these wonderful visionaries).

Hose of Worth (XIX century).

Afternoon dress (1875).
Mr. Worth had many dressmakers who worked for him in his workshop, his clients came and went, they saw the designs worn by Worth's wife (it's all in the family, right?), and they decided if they wanted to buy those exquisite dresses for their closet. Our friend Charles created a collection a year, labeled the garments, and did not allow modifications to the original design in a capricious way. The ladies of the high elite began to stop by his workshop and fell at his feet, so his work began to reach a great level of popularity. Like his sales increased, his workshop grew in space and personnel who created designs where the glamour of French couture and the excellence of the English needle merged (call it perfection!). Let's not forget to mention that he introduced a new element in the female wardrobe called a bustle. This was an interior frame attached to the waist placed on the lower back that bulged the dresses from behind and flatted them in front. Needless to say that it was very successful and his popularity was increasing.

House of Worth (1908).
In his workshop the silk (did anyone say silk?), linen, metallic threads and rhinestones were the materials par excellence to create authentic masterpieces. His dresses take your breath away, as well as his accessories; Worth created all the pieces as a whole (and still fashion houses do it), something also very novel. After his death, his son Jean-Philippe Worth (1856-1926), took over the thriving business, but its doors were closed in 1956 (insert sad face here). Like a last comment, adding that, thanks to Charles Worth, fashion began to become a profession, and today millions of people make a living from it.

See you next week, vintage lovers!

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