Red and black embroidered dress and bolero, 1947, , all rights reserved., Cristóbal Balenciaga, MUDE Museo do Design e da Moda, In Copyright
Introduction

Couture has its roots in modern European history. Some historians argue that its establishment can be traced as back as in the seventeenth century, when Rose Bertin, who was the person in charge of creating Marie Antoinette attires, looking for the best pieces to shape the queen’s look. Since then, Paris has been considered the real capital of fashion: the place where wealthy women used to go, in order to get either clothes and accessories. However, Couture as a proper system is a more recent formation: Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman who in the mid-1800 and revolutionized the way French (and global) fashion was made and disseminated, is considered the father of Haute Couture as we know it today. Apart from creating outfits according to tastes of his wealthy clients, Worth also prepared a ‘portfolio’ of dresses that were created and shown on models in his Parisian showroom, so not focusing that much on one particular client, but deciding instead to direct the course of fashion according to his creative mind and will. Together with couture, was then born the Couturier: a creator, almost an artist, whose ‘idea of fashion’ was translated into amazing attires, often so recognizable of his (or her) style to define the identity of the couturier himself (or herself). In the following years, many other creators contributed to the growth of couture, nuancing its definition and often updating its meaning according to the times but also safeguarding the heritage of what came out to be a cultural establishment, always trying to combine the traditional values with the needs and desires of the audience. Since the narrative and, above all, the mythology of Couture has been largely shaped around the figures of creators, the exhibition wants to present French Haute Couture by introducing some of the most important couturiers - namely, Charles Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga - who became real icons and whose names are still relevant in today’s popular culture.