Haute Couture in China’s Fashion Industry

After the issue regarding actress Bai Bing and her Elie Saab Haute Couture dress caused heated discussions among Chinese netizens in late 2020, people started to talk about Haute Couture and how China’s fashion industry is not all about Blue Chip brands.

In late 2020, Elie Saab requested Bai Bing to delete all photos of her wearing the brand’s Haute Couture dress which later became a hot topic on Weibo. Elie Saab is known to be highly selective when lending celebrities their glamorous dresses, especially their Haute Couture collections. There are only a few top Chinese female celebrities able to borrow Elie Saab’s Haute Couture dresses such as Angelababy, Zhou Xun, Fan Bingbing, etc. It’s said that Bai Bing’s stylist borrowed the dress from an improper source.

So, what is Haute Couture? Why does everyone make a huge deal over it?


Haute Couture terminology

Charles Frederick Worth, the 19th-century pioneer English fashion designer, is considered the father of Haute Couture. Translated literally, “haute” means “high” in French while “couture” is “dressmaking.”

Haute Couture represents the highest level of fashion. They are expensive garments handcrafted from start to finish for a specific customer. The pieces are constructed by the most skilled sewers, using the most high-quality fabric with extreme attention to detail and complicated techniques. 

Dior’s Autumn-Winter 2020-2021 Haute Couture in the making

High standards of Haute Couture

It’s not that every customized luxury garment is considered Haute Couture. They must meet strict standards to be recognized by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture:

  • Design tailor-made for private clients;
  • Have a workshop in Paris that employs at least 15 full-time staffs;
  • Have at least 20 full-time technical people, in at least one workshop;
  • Present fashion collections to the public every season each year, in January and July, with at least 50 original designs of both ready-to-wear and evening garments.

By reason of the high standards, there are only a few fashion houses certified as Haute Couture members, such as Adeline André, Alexis Mabille, Chanel HC, Christian Dior, Frank Sorbier, Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, etc. [Click to view full list]

The price of Haute Couture clothes starts at $10,000 and can be as high as $1 million. It’s estimated that there are no more than 4,000 Haute Couture customers in the world.


Chinese celebrities in Haute Couture

Haute Couture is a dream of high fashion lovers. Thus, celebrities who have a chance to wear them, or their stylists, must have certain positions in the fashion industry. It’s no doubt that the Da Hua – top female celebrities like Fan Bingbing or Zhou Xun have tremendous fashion resources involving Haute Couture.

In the Xiao Hua world particularly, Angelababy, Ni Ni, Liu Yifei, etc. are outstanding names with the most Haute Couture resources. Top Xiao Hua attending events with Haute Couture dresses always creates hot topics among C-netizens. The discussions are not only about who is more well-dressed but also about who is wearing Haute Couture. 

Angelababy. Credit to: Mirrocal
NiNi. Credit to: Mirrocal
Liu Yifei. Credit to: Mirrocal
Victoria Song Qian. Credito to: Mirrocal
Yang Mi. Credit to Mirrocal
Zhao Liying. Credit to Mirrocal
Guan Xiaotong. Credit to: Mirrocal
Dilireba. Credit to: Miroocal

Haute Couture is not exclusive to female celebrities. Top male celebrities with great fashion resources are also trusted by fashion brands.

Roy Wang Yuan, Timmy Xu, Cai Xukun, Lay Zhang, etc. are among the list of top young liuliang male celebrities with good Haute Couture resources.

Roy Wang. Credit to: Fashion Models
Timmy Xu. Credit to: Fashion Models
Cai Xukun. Credit to: Fashion Models
Zhang Yixing. Credit to: Fashion Models
Kris Wu. Credit to: Fashion Models
Fan Chengcheng. Credit to: Fashion Models

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