Why is Haute Couture so cheap?

Working from a 2D flat 1939 Christian Dior Design, a skilfull dressmaker, Domenique Erb,  takes proportions, measurements, then drapes, pins and sews muslin on a dressmaker’s bodyform dummy to bring it to 3D life as a template for an evening gown.

Why do Couture garments cost so much?

Well, once you’ve viewed this video, you ask “Why are couture garments so cheap?”!  It’s plain to see the years of skill and craft in the approach of the dressmaker.  There is plenty of geometry, precise measurements and arithmetical calculations before you even begin the sculpture with pins and fabric.  A stunning combination of calculation, artistry and hand-eye deftness and precision.


And this, of course, is only the middle part of the process.  First, the designer has spent a lifetime gaining inspiration and honing creative skills to make that original flat design.  They will also spend valuable time overseeing the garment’s making throughout and adapting and perfecting it.

Then there is the sourcing of precisely the right (and expensive) fabric and finishings, and fittings on a live model.  When all of that is done, all you have is one wonderful garment – then a studio system has to crank into gear to make them.  Then entirely other departments make a runway show and create an event around the collection.  Which, the moment it is done – or even before, you are working on the next collection because fashion is ever evolving.

Project Runway

I am a great fan of Project Runway – and having seen this video of dressmaking in action – you begin to appreciate even more the stress the designers are under, to make something from nothing in 24 – 48 hours.

Further Reading

If you search this blog under “fashion” you will find interviews with various designers and fashion critics (including a review of the documentary “The Gospel according to Andre”).



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