Here are a few beautifully designed outfits by Christian Dior from fashion week. Keep in mind that these outfits are called haute couture and are usually not worn as everyday clothes (like many runway outfits).
The term “haute couture” is French. Haute means “high” or “elegant”. Couture literally means “sewing”, but has come to indicate the business of designing, creating, and selling custom-made, high fashion women’s clothes. Made from scratch for each customer, haute couture clothing typically requires three fittings. It usually takes from 100 to 400 hours to make one dress, costing from $26,000 to over $100,000. A tailored suit starts at $16,000, an evening gown at $60,000.
During fashion’s “golden age,” after World War II, some 15,000 women wore couture. Socialites such as the Duchess of Windsor would order whole collections at a time. Despite the small market, designers maintain haute couture operations partly because the prestige helps sell other products, such as perfume, cosmetics, and their ready-to-wear lines available in stores.
Today only 2,000 women in the world buy couture clothes; 60% are American. Only 200 are regular customers. Often, designers will loan clothes to movie stars or other public figures for publicity.
No, not Christian Dior, the influential French fashion designer, who is best known as the founder of one of the world’s top fashion houses. We are talking Christian Louboutin, French shoe designer, famous for his stilettos with fiery red soles. Walking alongside of the streets of Paris as a teenager, Louboutin noticed a billboard in front of the Museum of Oceanic Art that instructed women tourists not to scratch the wooden floors inside. He felt bothered by the sign and, as a consequence, he would draw shoes with compressed buckles and with soles. He admits to having spent a lot of time as a teenager drawing these types of shoes in his school notebooks.
To get his name out in the world of fashion, Christian began to go to parties around Paris with an armful of shoes. He offered them up to anyone willing to look but was often flat out rejected due to the lofty price tags. While trying to grow his business, Christian decided to attend design classes to increase his chances of making a sale. Finally, Christian raised enough money to open a boutique in Paris. It quickly became one of the hottest spots to shop, not only for the shoes, but for the free coffee and excellent customer service provided. Companies in other countries, particularly the US, caught wind of Christian’s excellent line and service. Stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks picked up the line almost instantaneously.
But, for some reason, Louboutin was not completely satisfied with his shoes. He wanted something that made his designs stand out in the sea of shoes walking down the street around the world. He became inspired by an employee’s red Chanel nail polish and felt that making a red sole would be the best possible distinguishing feature for his brand. His Andy Warhol inspired flower shoe was the first to feature the illustrious red sole and sent his brand into phenomenal fame.
Christian Louboutin has boutiques in the biggest, brightest cities in the world like New York, Paris, and Hong Kong. He has received numerous awards and distinctions for his designs including a feature story on the Oprah Winfrey show, exhibitions at the Pierre Passebon Gallery and Fashion Institute of Technology among others, mentions in songs by artists like Ciara and Jay-Z, and tons of celebrity fans like Hayden Panettiere, Angelina Jolie, Mariah Carey, Victoria Beckham, Madonna, and Christina Aguilera. Christian Louboutin shoes are among the most glamorous in the world.