What is COUTURE?

The term “haute couture” comes from the French language. Haute means “high” or “elegant”, Couture means “sewing” or “dressmaking”. Now the term Haute Couture is also used loosely to describe all high-fashion custom-fitted clothing.

The couturier Charles Frederick Worth (October 13, 1826–March 10, 1895), is widely considered the father of haute couture as it is known today. Revolutionizing how dressmaking had been previously perceived, Worth made it so the dressmaker became the artist of garnishment: a fashion designer. While he created one-of-a-kind designs to please some of his titled or wealthy customers, he is best known for preparing a portfolio of designs that were shown on live models at the House of Worth.

Following in Worth’s footsteps were Patou, Poiret, Vionnet, Fortuny, Lanvin, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, and Dior. Some of these fashion houses exist today, under the leadership of modern designers.
In the 1960s a group of young designers who had trained under people like Dior and Balenciaga left these established couture houses and opened their own establishments. The most successful of these young designers were Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges, and Emanuel Ungaro. Japanese native and Paris-based Hanae Mori was also successful in establishing her own line.

For all these fashion houses, custom clothing is no longer the main source of income, often costing much more than it earns through direct sales; it only adds the aura of fashion to their ventures in ready-to-wear clothing and related luxury products such as shoes and perfumes, and licensing ventures that earn greater returns for the company.

I am inspired by those great designers, and have collected vintage pieces since the sixties. I have also studied metaphysics for several decades and have written many popular books and oracles with my husband, Monte Farber, so there is a lot of symbolism in my designs. The thing that is most important to me when designing, is personalizing the artistry of the garments we place upon our bodies. When you look at the history of most cultures, every piece and detail of clothing had a meaning. Although practical and needed, mass-produced clothes are made in a factory. Hand made couture is really special and it is art. It’s important that the world doesn’t let that go in fashion.

Amy Zerner is the Hamptons Number 1 fashion blogger and designer

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