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The Birthplace of Haute Couture

Yesterday I decided to go for a little walk and find one of the most historically significant fashion history places of Paris: No7, Rue de la Paix. It was on this place, in the same arrondissement as mine, that Charles Frederick Worth opened his "House of Worth" in 1857, which would become the very first to lay down the bases of modern day haute couture in the history of fashion.
Worth, who dominated Parisian fashion in the latter half of the nineteenth century, was born in England, and relocated to Paris in 1845.

Worth found immense popularity among wealthy Americans as well as European royalty and aristocrats. Many clients traveled to Paris to purchase entire wardrobes from the House of Worth. For the wealthy woman, a complete wardrobe would consist of morning, afternoon, and evening dresses and lavish "undress" items such as tea gowns and nightgowns, which were worn only in the privacy of one's home. Worth also supplied gowns for special occasions, including weddings and ornate masquerade balls, a favorite entertainment in both the US and Europe. Worth's clients also included stars of theater and stage. He supplied performance costumes and wardrobes for leading actresses and singers such as Sarah Bernhardt or Lillie Langtry.

Unfortunately, the original building that once housed the Worth Salons has long since been modified, and the House of Worth is no more (compared to the small picture above). You can see on the picture I took yesterday, that the building stores are left out for renting and in a bad condition. Who would believe that in the same street resides the main store of Cartier and that we*re only steps away from Place Vendôme? Regular readers may also remember the fact that the old Texan Embassy is on the same street.
Anyhow I think it*s a shame no one came up with the idea of putting up some kind of a memorial plaque for this place. Paris is filled with memorial plaques on the facades of buildings that indicate which historic personality lived or died here.
Maybe one day there will be a fashion parcours along the streets of Paris?It*s Worth it!

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1 Responses to “The Birthplace of Haute Couture”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    NICE BLOG.  

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    I am Cedric, discoverer of things that would go unnoticed in the streets of Paris, historic haven of fashionistas and city of lights ('lights' as in 'enlightenment', not street lights).
    But seriously: I'm an expat from Luxembourg (the country, not the garden), living in the center of Paris (hence 'Paris 2nd arrondissement'), and currenlty studying architectural history...

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