LUXE Models: What is Haute Couture?

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Twice a year, LUXE Models swoons as a select number of fashion houses set daring new trends at Haute Couture Fashion Week. What is haute couture and why is it such a big deal in fashion?

High dressmaking

Haute couture is French. It means “high sewing,” “high dress making” or “high fashion.” It refers to the tradition of creating custom-made exclusive clothing.

Basically haute couture is the most exclusive fashion in the world. Couture pieces are sewn by hand by the most experienced sewers on the planet. Couture makers only use the finest (and often the most bizarre) fabrics in the world and are known for paying meticulous attention to every thread they stitch.

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Couture, a history

The history of haute couture can be dated back to the 18th Century. Legend has it that haute couture was first introduced into French society by Rose Berlin, the designer of Marie Antoinette herself. The tradition spread through court and as goes Versailles, so goes the rest of France.

The dressmaking tradition grew in popularity throughout the first half of the 19th Century. Charles Frederick Worth, the man who is now considered the father of haute couture, established the first couture house in Paris in 1858. A number of houses followed in its wake.

Exclusive label

However the term haute couture can’t be adopted by just any fashion house. Haute couture is the most exclusive label in fashion. It’s a protected term. This means that a fashion house can only earn the honour if it’s awarded to them by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris; the Paris Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber imposes strict guidelines to determine who has the right to enter the most exclusive club in fashion; the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Among other things the Chamber stipulates that the house has a Paris-based atelier (workshop) with a minimum of 20 employees.

“Statement of strength and technical ability.”

Current members of the Chamber Syndicale de la Haute Couture include Channel, Christian Dior, Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier. They display their creations twice a year at Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris. With a meHaute Couture Luxe Modelsmber-list like that, fashion houses around the world would kill to qualify for this most select of clubs.

Why? Haute couture is notoriously expensive to produce and is usually sold at a loss. Is membership of the most exclusive collective on the planet worth its exorbitant price tag? Yes, and a piece in the Guardian recently explained why. Guardian fashion blogger Hannah Marriot wrote that “fashion designers use couture as a statement of strength and technical ability.”

The ultimate showcase

That’s what haute couture really is in the modern world. The ultimate showcase. Designers use membership of this elitist club to prove that they’re the best of the best. This inspires them to create the most stunning fashion the world has ever seen.

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LUXE Models Success Stories: Miranda Kerr

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Breaking into modelling with no experience can be tough. You should do plenty of research, so you know how to market yourself as a model. You may want to look at modelling success stories such as the brilliant Miranda Kerr, to see how it’s done. LUXE Models chronicles Miranda’s rise to stardom.

Getting started 

Born in 1983, Miranda Kerr grew up in small town New South Wales, Australia. Looking to experience city life, the family later moved to Brisbane. Miranda’s life changed forever when she won the Dolly Magazine/Impulse Model Competition at aged 13. She was then flown to Sydney to take photos for the publication. These snaps drew serious media attention due to her age, getting Miranda started.

The blue-eyed brunette was eventually signed to the Sydney-based Chic Management agency. They have also represented major modelling names like Karlie Kloss and Ruby Rose over the years. With Chic’s help, Miranda soon started finding modelling work. She notably appeared in a range of beachwear ads for brands like Billabong before moving to New York to become a global name.

Going global 

After moving to the Big Apple, Miranda was signed with the iconic Next Management modelling agency. Over the years, Next has represented legendary models like Anja Rubik and Abbey Lee Kershaw. Starting from 2004, the Australian started appearing in campaigns for major brands, including Roberto Cavalli and Levis. She also fronted publications like Harper’s Bazaar and Elle.

Miranda’s big global break came in 2006. She signed a lucrative contract with Maybelline New York, one of the most famous make-up brands on earth. The resulting campaign ran in several top fashion magazines, brining Miranda onto the world stage. Following this, the Australian became a Victoria’s Secret Angel, alongside the likes of Adriana Lima and Heidi Klum, cementing her superstar status.

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Iconic model 

The Australian has since worked with many brands, ranging from Chanel to Miu Miu. Miranda has also covered numerous magazines, such as GQ, FHM, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. It should come as no surprise that Miranda Kerr is now one of the world’s highest paid models.  She has also launched her own skincare line, titled Kora and worked to promote environmental causes with her fame.

Talking about her commitment to modelling, Miranda was quoted by Hello Magazine saying: “I am focused on what I am doing and still feel like I have a lot to learn… I always enjoy trying new things and exploring new opportunities, so we will just have to wait and see… I believe to be successful at anything you have to give it a 100% commitment and that is what I still do to this day.”

Commit to modelling 

So by Miranda’s own admission, she became a global superstar by being 100% committed to modelling. If you want to make it in this industry, take your cue from Miranda. Put the hours in and work to become a successful model. As you build up a profile, you may catch the eye of a top modelling agency, like Miranda Kerr did, allowing you to gain the support needed to find modelling jobs!