Haute Couture literally translated means "sewing at a high level" and the centre for haute couture is still Paris. Couture had been in decline for many years with the couture houses being thought of, as exclusively expensive workshops where highly creative ideas could be satisfied. These design houses were subsidised by their fragrances as no-one could afford the extravagantly high prices.
Now, amazingly some couture houses are back in profit. It seems that the super rich have revived this declining sector. Sadly some believe that it's at the expense of great design as the couture designers are designing to their customers tastes and not exploring creative fantasy. I believe that this is fashion going through a natural cycle as talented seamstresses which preceded Couture were designing what their customers craved. Charles Worth (1826-1895) is considered to be the first Couture designer. He was the first to dictate design to his customers with sketches.
Couture, of course uses the finest fabrics with top notch cutting skills, all individually made. What many fashion followers don't realise is that most of the stitching is done by hand by highly skilled seamstresses using very intricate processes.
To my mind, really good quality ready to wear clothes are preferable. I would choose not to pay £50,000 to £100,000 for even the most heart stoppingly beautiful item. In terms of luxury and sustainability I'd like to see some fitting and finishing techniques being borrowed from Haute Couture......please...