The actual term ‘haute couture’ is protected by law and according to the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture, “only those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves thereof”.
The criteria to which a fashion house must adhere in order to be categorised haute couture were laid down in 1945 and updated in 1992.
These rules are simple, to be designated as haute couture a minimum of fifteen people must be employed at the workshops and must present to the press in Paris each season (spring/summer and autumn/winter) a collection of at least thirty-five runs consisting of models for daytime wear and evening wear.
As of 2010 members of the Syndicate Chamber of Parisian Couture are as follows:
Adeline Andre : Anne Valerie Hash: Chanel: Christian Dior : Franck Sorbier.
Givenchy : Christian Lacroix : Dominique Sirop : Jean Paul Gaultier : Maurizio Galante : Stephane Rolland.
Agnes B. opened her first boutique with a display of recut French workers’ uniforms. Now including perfume, she believes you have to let beauty express itself. Visit Agnes B
The Temperley London label was officially launched at London Fashion Week in September 2000 and has subsequently grown to become a highly desirable brand with global recognition. Visit Alice Temperley
In a world taking shape in harmony, Ferretti’s universal symbols of conscience, peace and love transform the traditional concepts of earth, sex and money.
Dubbed ‘enfant terrible’, Alexander McQueen has manipulated his own fashion career to become one of the youngest to achieve ‘British Designer of the Year’ in 1996. Visit Alexander Mc Queen
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, on 21 July 1971 Alexandre Herchcovitch, developed both his love and basic skills of fashion design through his mother, Regina Herchcovitch. Visit Alexandre Herchcovitch
Amanda Wakely was one of Princess Diana’s favourite designers. Her style is best described as elegant and understated. Visit Amanda Wakeley
He was designated by Guy Laroche, shortly before his death, as his successor in haute-couture. Angelo Tarlazzi took up the offer from 1989 to 1993, while continuing to direct his own fashion house. Visit Angelo Tarlazzi
Born in Belgium in 1959, Ann Demeulemmeester studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Belgium between 1978 and 1981. Visit Anne Demeulemeester
Antoine & Lili
Originally just a small lively store in Paris, Antoine & Lili has many stores in France and can also now be found in London, Japan & Singapore. Visit Antoine & Lili
Hindmarch has become the handbag source for top designers, synthesizing Grace Kelly style with unexpected details like rhinestone glitter and fob watches. Visit Anya Hindmarch
Armani’s Tailored clothing, dresses, sportswear, evening wear and accessories are made from the world’s most exquisite fabrics and produced to the highest standards.Visit Giorgio Armani
Official website of French fashion designer who has shops in Paris, Milan and New York. Site however, is entirely in french. Visit Barbara Bui
During his studies he assisted Walter van Beirendonck, Alexander Mc Queen, Vivienne Westwood and Dirk Bikkembergs. His first collection was launched during Paris Fashion Week in 1999. Visit Bernhard Willhelm
Betty Jackson was born in Bacup, Lancashire in 1949 and since then has gone on to become an internationally renowned fashion designer. Visit Betty Jackson
Founded in 1856 when the young Thomas Burberry, a draper, opened his first shop in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.Visit Burberry
Every day, 1500 employees produce 14,00 suits in the ever growing Canali empire. Visit Canali
Carven have much to be proud of and has built an excellent reputation over the years dressing queens, princesses and empresses not to mention the post-war stars of the screen. Visit Carven
Roberto Cavalli, born in Florence, Italy on November 15, 1940 was raised in modest surroundings. He had rather strong artistic traditions, his mother was a tailor and his grandfather a Florentine impressionist painter. Visit Cavalli
Calvin Klein graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1962. Now a household name internationally. Visit Calvin Klien
What started as a weaving shop has now grown into one of the worlds most distinguished designer brands under the influence of Nino Cerrutti. Visit Cerrutti
Designers of feminine contemporary lingerie and swimwear. Chiarugi use fabrics, finnishing and embroidery that give a Tailor made feel.Visit Chiarugi
Born in 1883 Coco Chanel became a true matriarch of haute couture. A true visionary she provided women the sort of comfort and ease that had previously been reserved to men’s fashions. Visit Chanel
Chloe was established in 1952 and has gone on to produce such talented designers as Karl Lagerfeld, Martine Sitbon and Stella McCartney.Visit Chloe
The Christian Dior universe extends from fragrance to fashion. The latest beauty tips and trends, fashion shows and season by season wear can be seen on this site. Visit Christian Dior
Now officially part of the Haute outure establishment, Christian was born on May 16, 1951 in Arles, France. He studied Art History at the University of Montpellier and continued his studies in Paris. Visit Christian Lacroix
In 1895 Cristobal Balenciaga was born in Gueteria in the Spanish Basque country. At the age of 24 he opened his first fashion house in San Sebastian. Visit Cristobal Balenciaga
Smart American casualwear, the Diesel site offers store location and online demonstration of its latest clothing range.Visit Diesel
Dolce & Gabbana
The Dolce & Gabbana trademark which has by now toured the world faithfully representing the new generation of ‘Made in Italy’. Visit Dolce and Gabbana
Dominique Sirop joined the House of Yves Saint Laurent at the age of 17. He then assisted Hubert de Givenchy for 12 years. Visit Dominique Sirop
Donna Karan is a New York based designer of high fashion apparel that targets businessmen and working women.
Dries Van Noten
Dries Van Noten was born in Antwerp in 1958, into a three-generations-old family of Tailors and studied at the Antwerp Academy. Visit Dries Van Noten
Commissions for Elie Saab have been been pouring in since he dressed Queen Rania of Jordan for her coronation, and Halle Berry for the Oscars in both 2002 and 2003. Visit Elie Saab
Elspeth Gibson London
Elspeth Gibson London has enjoyed phenomenal success ever since her first catwalk show. Elspeth has been hailed as one of the UK’s new leading designers.Visit Elspeth Giibson
Emannuel Ungaro was born in Aix-en-Provence to an Italian Tailor. At aged 22, he moved to Paris and at 25 he began designing for the House of Cristobal Balenciaga. Visit Emmanuel Ungaro
Italian style brought together by a family with a passion for the arts and design.
Founded in 1918 in Rome, Fendi has since exemplified the highest standards of original Italian fashion. Their exclusive handbags and scarves are crafted from the highest quality materials and are a must for the today’s woman of discriminating taste.
Full Circle has established itself as one the UK’s leading fashion brands whose clothing is designed by some of the UK’s best home-grown talent.
Gaspard took an internship with Thierry Mugler and then with Jean Paul Gaultier. who combine the creative flair of London with the historic grandeur of France. Visit Gaspard Yurkievich
Hubert de Givenchy’s designs leapt to instant international recognition when Audrey Hepburn wore his white dress in Billy Wilder’s film ‘Sabrina’. Visit Givenchy
When Gucci opened its first store in Florence in 1921, few could have guessed that it would become the international success that it is today. Visit Gucci
Hanae Mori is the only Asian designer to be accepted as a member of La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. In 1951 she opened her first studio in Tokyo.
Helmut Lang has already launched successful jeans and underwear collections as well as designs for sunglasses. Now they offer a signature fragrance. Visit Helmut Lang
Hermes began life as a saddelry but it soon became apparent that Thierry Hermes was capable of much more. Visit Hermes
Online you can see a video and other extracts from the Issey Miyake exhibition which is currently showing at the Museum of Contemporary art in Tokyo. Visit Issey Miyake
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
At the age of 20, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac began his fashion design career. His work is underpinned by the use of colour and a sense of fun. Visit Castelbajac
In 1962 Jean-Louis Scherrer created his Haute Couture house located at the 182, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. Visit Scherrer
According to Gaultier, clothing is like a second skin, something in which we feel good, and live. He has feminized men’s jackets and fluidified the suit. More information on Jean Paul Gaultier ONLINE AT YOOX on Jean Paul Gaultier
Inspired by extentive travels, historical knowledge of costume and with her sublime appreciation of colour, Packham has fast become one the UK’S most regarded designers. Visit Jenny Packham
Jil Sander is a successful German designer, born in 1943 and a gradute in textiles. Visit Jil Sander
John Galliano: the name in fashion, ready to wear, accessories and leathergoods. The first Englishman to head up a french couture house. Visit John Galliano
Jean-Pauls career began with a placement with Yves Saint Laurent in Paris and eventually assisted Saint Laurent himself on Haute Couture. Visit Jean-Paul Knott
Joyce Ridings is a British womenswear designer who has been successfully operating at an international level for over 25 years. Visit Joyce Ridings
Junya Watanabe is a Japanese fashion designer, originally the protege of Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo. In 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama wore a blue-patterned cardigan designed by Watanabe on a visit to the Royal Opera House during her and President Barack Obama’s trip to London
A global fashion designer, who’s designs are available in large stores specialising in mens and womens wear. She is an active campaigner on environmental and social issues. Visit Katharine Hamnett.com/
Since his first collection in April 1970, Kenzo Takada has kept the world amazed by the world’s own wonders. “The world is beautiful” is his claim. Visit Kenzoki
Lanvin’s lines are seen in all the luxury markets of Europe, the Far East, the Middle East and the USA. Lanvin fragrances, ties and eyewear are the world over. Visit Lanvin
The enchanting world of the french designer Lolita Lempicka is noted for its girly clothes and signature perfume.
In 1950 Louis Féraud created his first “Maison de Couture” in Cannes and by 1955 had established a Couture House in Paris on the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. Visit Louis Feraud
Leading the avant-garde of fashion without compromising traditional craftsmanship of luxury leather goods, Louis Vuitton is also active in other creative spheres: ready-to-wear, shoes, watches and jewelry Visit Louis Vuitton
Born in New York in 1963, Marc Jacobs has enjoyed a meteoric rise including being design director for Louis Vuitton. Visit Marc Jacobs
Michael Kors was born and raised on Long Island, a suburb of New York City. He attended The Fashion Institute of Technology, where he studied fashion design. Visit Michael Kors
Visit this milanese designer for the latest collections, store locator and gallery. Visit Missoni
Franco Moschino became an illustrator for Gianni Versace until he broke away and launched his own label in 1983. He started off with jeans and casual wear which was quickly followed by shoes, lingerie, accessories and much more… Visit Moschino
Born in Turin in 1883, Nina Ricci opened her first couture house at the age of 20. Her talents quickly led to the creation of the Nina Ricci that we know today. Visit Nina Ricci
Oki-ni is an independent, London-based design group which works in collaboration with a range of globally renowned brands and designers to create unique products. Visit Oki-ni/
As a 20-year-old, Olivier Theyskens dropped out of La Cambre art school in Brussels to start his own label. Visit Olivier Theyskens
Oscar De La Renta
Oscar de la Renta, left his native Dominican Republic at 18 years of age to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. Visit Oscar De La Renta
Today Rabanne constantly seeks to surprise and innovate, but is always faithful to the image of a woman who is both sensual and intelligent. Visit Paco Rabanne
Profile of this prolific and prominent London designer for men and women, renowned for sharp lines and expert Tailoring. Visit Paul Smith
The name Pierre Balmain stands for a unique concept of elegance, a clientele of royalty and film stars, and a fashion hallmark recognized throughout the world. Visit Pierre Balmain
Pierre Cardin has been revolutionising the world of fashion for more than half a century. He is and shall remain a leader with a vision of the future. Visit Pierre Cardin
The ultimate in must-have accessories. Since the mid-1990s, there have been few status symbols as potent as the Prada-embossed silver triangle. Visit Prada
An interesting approach to clothing online. This site is more like a magazine offering useful ideas and suggestions for dressing up.
Visit Ralph Lauren
A highly stylised website from the Italian designer, Romeo Gigli´s a world of art, fashion and design. Visit Romeo Gigli
Sahza is a unique feminine brand targeting the active women through a combination of aesthetic and functional aspects.
Sonia Rykiel’s is especially noted for her knitwear and her habit for writing random words across her clothing. Still an icon 40 years after she started. Visit Sonia RyKiel
Stella McCartney was born in 1972, the daughter of ex-Beatle Sir Paul and Linda McCartney. She now works with Gucci developing her own label as a global luxury brand. Visit Stella Mccartney
Ted Baker online store: designer clothing and accessories for men, women, boys and girls – no ordinary designer label. Visit Ted Baker
Born in Paris in 1929, Ted Lapidus opened his Haute Couture House and a Boutique for Men and Women in Marbeuf in 1957. Visit Ted Lapidus
In the universe of French fashion, Thierry Mugler appears as a multi-faceted artist.Visit Thierry Mugler
Tom Ford was born in Austin, Texas in 1962, but spent most of his childhood years in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Visit Tom Ford
Parisian haute couture, with boutiques in Paris. Torrente is owned by Rose Mett, sister of the designer Ted Lapidus. In 1968 she opened her first boutique in Saint Honore Paris.Visit Torrente
Russian designer of both haute couture and prêt-a-porter, and accessories. In 2010 he redesigned Russia’s military uniforms, creating 85 designs to dress all branches of the Russian armed services.Visit Valentin Yudashkin
I’ve always said that I would like to mix rock and simplicity because this is fashion, they are the extremes – chic and shock:- a quote from the late Gianni Versace. Visit Gianni Versace
Viktor and Rolf
Viktor & Rolf is an Amsterdam-based fashion house. The company was founded in 1993 by designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren. Visit Vikto & Rolf
Vivienne Westwood was 30 years old when she opened her first boutique in 1971. Her designs have stunned the world since. Visit Vivienne Westwood
Yamamoto’s various awards and recognitions include the French Chevalier de l’Order des Arts et Lettres and the Fashion Group of America’s “Designer of the Year”. Visit Yohji Yamamoto
Yves Saint Laurent
In June 1999 The Council of Fashion Designers of America presented Yves Saint Laurent with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. Visit Yves Saint Laurent or ONLINE AT YOOX
With the unleashing of his ‘Collection blanche’, dedicated to Jackie Kennedy in 1967, Valentino Garavani went from famous to superstardom. Visit Valentino
The classic garments of Zandra Rhodes from the late 60s and 70s are rapidly becoming some of the hottest collectibles on the US and UK scene. Visit Zandra Rhodes
The move toward a less formal work wardrobe is no casual trend. Without the suit and tie as a guideline, however, the obvious question arises “What should one wear?” Visit Zegna