Couture or non-couture, that is the question.
With so many beautiful wedding dresses in the market at different price points, it’s worth the ask. What is it that makes one garment couture vs. another? What are you getting with a couture bridal gown that you aren’t getting with a typical wedding gown? There are notable differences, and it’s worth the price tag.
Haute couture originated in mid-19th century Paris by an Englishman named Charles Frederick Worth, who combined his vast knowledge of fabrics and garment construction with a strong aptitude for promotion to start a department of dressmakers. He established himself as the only male dressmaker in Paris at the time.
The center of haute couture remains in Paris where there is a strong support structure for workers skilled in hand embroidery, needlework, beading, developing fabric flowers, and feather work. In France, the governing body for the French Fashion Houses is the Parisian High Fashion Syndicate (Chamber Syndicale de la couture Parisienne) who oversee and ensure that the strict qualifying rules for the term haute couture are abided.
Haute couture represents the creation of hand-made garments with meticulous attention to detail and precision. To this day, each couture garment is custom cut, fitted and regularly redesigned to fit a particular person. The process involves a team of individuals with specialized skills (the couturier, assistants, fitters and needle workers) to bring a work of art to life. A team of four to eight people may need hundreds of hours to produce an ornately embellished dress. As a result, couture designs costs tend to be high, but in the haute couture industry, meeting the standards for design and production take priority over controlling expenses.
If you’re looking for a couture wedding gown, you can expect the following elements:
Exceptional fit: A couture garment is customized and fits flawlessly for an individual customer.
Impeccable craftsmanship: Every piece of the garment is treated with the same attention, whether it’s the seam allowance, hand-stitching or finishing of a piece.
Attention to detail: From the original muslin pattern (or toile) to the embellishments, every design element, such as floral motifs or lace appliques, are perfectly placed and matched so that it looks seamless.
Extraordinary fabrics: Couture designs are sewn in only the most luxurious, exceptional fabrics that normally cost hundreds of dollars a yard, without some costing more than a thousand dollars a yard.
- Strong innovative design: The couturier (or designer) has an ability to interpret the mood of the time and develop a unique style. Regardless of whether the style is classic or exaggerated, couture designs are based on basic design principles such as proportion, colour and texture, and balance.
With a couture gown, you will get more than just the typical gown – it’s the craftsmanship, fabric quality, design. In short, it’s just magic!