So what actually is couture?

Because it’s probably not what you think.

When you hear the word couture, we’re sure your mind immediately goes to red carpets, ball gowns and A-listers. But apart from being glamorous, what actually is couture? A lot of people will tell you they know what it means. Hell, we thought we knew what it meant. That it’s gorgeous, that it’s custom-made and that it has a serious price tag. Turns out that’s all wrong. Well, kinda. Here’s the lowdown on what couture actually is and how South Australian designers are dominating in the area.

The Real Definition

So couture is French. And if we know anything about the French it’s that they love champagne and they know a thing or two about fashion. Technically, to be a couturier you need to be certified by the Chambre Syndicate de la Haute Couture, have a store in Paris and debut a collection of 35 or more items. Whew. 

But let’s face it, today the term couture is more commonly used to refer to high fashion pieces that are made to order. And it seems that this definition is pretty well accepted now. However, that doesn’t mean you can make a dress for your bestie in your lounge room and call it couture. 

Although that’s kind of how Paolo Sebastian came to be, minus the price tag.

A Look at One of Australia’s Top Couturiers

Born and raised in Adelaide, Paul Vasileff is the couturier behind namesake label, Paolo Sebastian. He made his first dress at 11, while the rest of us were still wearing jeans and joggers, and he’s come a long way since then. Renowned for his edgy appeal, Vasileff’s designs are fit for a Disney princess and feature regularly on red carpets and best dressed lists. It’s safe to say he’s fronting Australia’s couture game. 

The Rest of the Best

Luckily for us, Vasileff isn’t the only name winning at the couture game. With intricate and innovative designs, the names worth remembering include Jaimie Sortino, Suzana Lucci, Greta Kate, Caleche and Elizabeth V. 

If you’re really keen to get your couture on these designers are all showcasing at Adelaide Fashion Festival in October. The Couture Culture Show on October 24 will feature the intricate works of this stellar line-up, or if you’re feeling dreamy, Paolo Sebastian’s AW 2016 Couture Collection debuts on October 25. 

And if you’re starting to feel that tingle of inspiration to purchase your own piece of couture, just remember it’s called high fashion for a reason. It can take up to 35 hours to simply sew a hem, meaning yep, it can be kind of expensive. In 2013 Paolo Sebastian collaborated with Shiels Jewelers on a diamond dress that retailed at $1 million. Now that’s Australian Couture.

The Couture Culture runway kicks off October 24 as part of Adelaide Fashion Festival. Book tickets here.


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