The Paris Hôtel de Ville is celebrating haute couture with an exhibition entitled “Paris Haute Couture” which will open on 2nd March and run until 6th July and is free to visitors.
This is a superb opportunity to view some exceptional examples of haute couture dresses or outfits, chosen from among the most beautiful pieces in the Galliera museum collections (note The Galliera is closed until autumn 2013).
What is Haut Couture?
Haute couture was born in Paris and when Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman working in Paris, opened the first true haute couture house at 7 rue de la Paix in 1858 to create original designs for individual clients he can have little known what a huge impact it would have.
The term “haute couture” is in actual fact a legally protected name and it used to define custom-made clothing. To achieve the accolade of haut couture there are established rules that fashion houses must follow:
Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
Must have twenty full-time technical people in at least one atelier (workshop) and the work must be done by hand.
Twice a year present a collection to the Paris press (spring-summer and autumn-winter), comprising at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.
The world of haut couture is often shrouded in mystery and the exhibition at the Hôtel de Ville aims to pay tribute to this jewel of French culture. The traditions of the most talented embroiderers, seamstresses and plumassièrs and the masterpieces of famous, flamboyant and fabulous designers will be revealed in a unique opportunity for visitors to see behind the scenes and sneak a view of an outfit from its conception to its completion.
Included on the programme at the Paris Haut Couture exhibiton are the biggest and the best names in haut couture: Chanel, Christian Dior, Worth, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Doucet, Poiret, Lanvin, Vionnet, Patou, Molyneux, Rochas, Maggy Rouff, Jacques Heim, Nina Ricci, Schiaparelli, Jacques Fath, Grès, Balmain, Carven, Givenchy, Cardin, Courrèges, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lacroix, Alaïa…
The “Paris haute couture” exhibition will show case around a hundred haute couture branded models on display in the Salle Saint-Jean of the Paris Hôtel de Ville. Drawings and photographs will add the finishing touch to the exhibition.
The exhibition has been created with the support of Swarovski, a brand which is very close to haut couture and whose crystals have been used by many of the designers.
Hotel de Ville, Paris: March 2 to July 6, 2013
Open every day from 10h to 19h (except Sundays and public holidays), entry is free
Metro: Hotel de Ville, Rambuteau, Pont-Marie
See more details on the Paris website