Did it ever make you wonder why Paris is considered to be so hot when it comes to fashion? This is not referring to the heiress of the Hilton chains of hotel but to the French metropolis that has several identities along its name.

* Paris Fashion in the 18th century.
It was the aristocratic trendsetter King Louis XIV who promoted French fashion through the dolls. It evolved in the passing of time where it was known that Haute Couture, refers to high- class clothing styles, truly began in France with couturier Rose Bertin as Minister for Fashion. It was then continued by Leroy after Napoleon became Emperor in 1804.  In those days, notable figures such as royalties always wanted their wardrobes to be customed- made.

* Paris Fashion in the 19th century
Englishman Charles Worth, also regarded as father of modern Haute Couture, was the first to place his name on the label of garments. It was on 1858 that Paris started to produce collections of clothes from his own ideas. Worth’s approach was considered fresh which was eventually being worn by models such as that of Empress Eugenie that became very successful. It was then whatever couturiers dictate is deemed vogue.

* Paris Fashion in the 20th century
Ten years later, Charles Worth together with his offspring established an association of couture houses called as The Chambre Syndicale De La Confection Et De La Couture Pour Dames Et Filletes. The initial purpose of which was to stop couture creations being pirated. It has progressed and even altered its name with that effort to strongly introduce French fashion and French Haute Couture style.

Paris fashion was seen to have declined in the coming of the millennium. In 2000 there are only 18 where in 1946 there were 106 couture houses and still 60 salons in 1952. By January 2002, when Yves St. Laurent’s announced his retirement, there were only 12 left. In 2003, Donatella Versace also stopped and so did Ungaro two years ago. All in all, only 9 formed the high-ranking couture houses of Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Gaultier, Lacroix, Mori, Sirop, Scherrer and Torrente. Valentino, who is not officially situated in France, is a correspondent second ranking member. Most recently in 2005, Italian Giorgio Armani, decided to make a statement showcasing his “not yet ready to retire” decision.

According to the rules of Chambre Syndicale De La Couture, to classify as a couture house in Paris fashion, a couturier must produce 50 new and original designs of day and evening wear for each collection. It is also required to show two collections each year and at least 20 full- time technical people are employed in a workshop. Due to its strict regulations, only few can qualify. However, the foundation begun by Worth and his sons now has a school to train hopeful designers and technicians of the trade. They offer courses such as marrying old techniques with the new including the use of Computer Aided Design.

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