United Kingdom United Kingdom
The "father of haute couture" was surprisingly not French, but English. Charles Frederick Worth, born in 1825 (or 1826) in Lincolnshire, England, loved sumptuous fabrics, borders... Read more
Filter & Sort
Men Women Unisex
1 - 20 by 29
1 - 20 by 29

Interesting Facts

The "father of haute couture" was surprisingly not French, but English. Charles Frederick Worth, born in 1825 (or 1826) in Lincolnshire, England, loved sumptuous fabrics, borders and patterns, completed an apprenticeship as a fabric merchant and went to Paris in 1845 to work at the "Gagelin" fabric house, which specialized in silk.

While he was rising at "Gagelin", he kept trying to convince the business partners that fashion should also be designed and sold, but was shot down every time. The production of clothing was not highly regarded and an idea of the profession of fashion designer did not even exist yet. There was the old costume tailors' guild and the production of "normal" everyday clothes. The phenomenon of "fashion" was not something that was designed and influenced by individual minds, but arose in a quasi-"natural" way with the course of history.

Charles Frederick Worth continued to design hats, scarves and dresses for his wife Marie (who was thus the first mannequin) and kept pushing his ideas to the public. For example, he exhibited some pieces at the 1855 World's Fair in Paris and won a prize for a coat that hung freely from his shoulders.

In 1858 he found an investor and partner for his vision in the Swede Otto Bobergh: "Worth et Bobergh" - the first modern fashion house - opened at the noble address Rue de la Paix in Paris.

Worth et Bobergh'' quickly caused a sensation and became immensely successful. The rich, aspiring bourgeoisie was just as enchanted by Worth's creations as the aristocracy. Empress Eugenie (wife of the last French Emperor Napoleon III) was little loved, but was a true fashion icon, praised for her style and taste, and had a great influence on Parisian fashion history. When she became a devoted Worth customer and devotee, it was the absolute breakthrough of the first haute couture creator.

Every quarter Worth presented a collection by fashion show. Whereas previously the cut and style were the customer's wish and it was the tailor's job to implement the ideas, Worth thus changed the entire nature of fashion: he designed something and the customer decided to wear "Worth".

And how the customers clamored to wear "Worth"! His models were incredibly expensive, throughout Europe his name was synonymous with fashion, luxury and fine living, he employed over 1,000 seamstresses who made several hundred dresses a week according to his designs, and he could even afford to turn down customers if he was too stressed or thought they were not important enough.

In 1871, after Bobergh's retirement, the firm reopened as "Worth" and became a family business in 1895, when Charles Frederick Worth died and his two sons, Gaston and Jean-Philippe, continued to run the house. Until the middle of the 19th century Worth remained one of the very big names in fashion.

The first fashion house ever was also one of the first to design perfume with fashion: in 1924 the first Worth fragrance "Dans la Nuit" was released, which is still available today (admittedly reformulated several times). The house's most famous and influential perfume is the 1932 "Je Reviens," which is still in production today, just as modernized, capturing the power, elegance and fashionability of pre-war Paris in a dazzling variety of notes and nobility. It was a popular souvenir for American soldiers in the post-war period and thus became the epitome of exquisite European style.
Research and text by LouceLouce