Haute couture, with its name translating to "high dressmaking" from French, is the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. It is high-end fashion that is constructed by hand from start to finish, made from high-quality, expensive, often unusual fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable sewers, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques.
The term originally referred to Englishman Charles Frederick Worth’s work, produced in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. The Dapifer notes that Worth would allow his clients to select colors, fabrics and other details before ever beginning his design process which was unheard of at the time. In modern France, haute couture is a protected name that may not be used except by firms that meet certain well-defined standards. However, the term is also used loosely to describe all high-fashion custom-fitted clothing whether it is produced in Paris or in other fashion capitals such as London, Milan, New York City or Tokyo. In either case, the term can refer to the fashion houses or fashion designers that create exclusive and often trend-setting fashions or to the fashions created.