Haute Couture – Changing Times

“Fashion is the self-expression of desire.” ~ Margaret Anderson

Since the late nineteenth century, fashion has been an important and influential cultural force in the world. It has been both a high fashion symbol and a source of social status and authority. Fashion is also an appealing aesthetic statement in a given time and place and even in a given context, particularly in clothing, shoes, haute couture, cosmetics, hair styling, and body shapes. In short, fashion is the art of looking good, whether one chooses to do it consciously or not..

The late eighteen hundreds to the early nineteenth century was the dawn of high fashion, when fashionable men and women alike, chose to dress for the “in” crowd. The label “in” was associated with being chic, fashionable, wealthy, educated, and stylish. Clothing of this period had a highly stylized design that reflected the new fashion world. One could thus say that by the nineteenth century fashion, high fashion had already established itself as a world wide fashion symbol.

Haute couture fashions are characterized by extreme simplicity and intricate detailing. The high fashion industry initially relied on printed tassels, which were originally printed in silver and gold. Tassels were soon replaced by sequins, beads, and rhinestones, which gave added sparkle and brilliance to the clothing. Prints such as floral prints, elegant dresses with geometrical shapes, and animal prints were all popular in this new high fashion era. Accessories included hats, gloves, scarves, and handbags.

After the start of the twentieth century, when automobiles became more popular, the style of clothing began to change. Automobile-style clothing became popular for middle class women, due to the fact that they could drive to work in style. Women who wished to keep up with the trend set by their friends wore clothing that had a similar design to that of their female friends. Furthermore, the more automobile-style clothing styles adopted the larger sizes of clothing. Thus, fashions of the day started to focus on larger sizes of clothing to fit the growing size of the body type of the average woman.

With changing times and fashion trends, haute couture has continually been an important part of fashion history. Haute couture fashions have given women the freedom to express themselves through the clothes they choose to wear. However, these fashions are usually considered classics that never go out of style. They remain popular due to the fact that most women love to wear these styles. And as long as they continue to be fashionable, these fashions will continue to be popular amongst all women.