DALLAS, Apr 15, 2005/ FW/ --- On July 6, 2005, the ladies of summer, together with the international fashion press will descend in Paris to witness the unveiling of the Fall 2005 haute couture collections.
This time, the season is back to 4 days, a piece of good news, especially because during the last two seasons, it was shortened to 3 days.
So, as we retrace our trek to Paris, we also retrace where it all began – 7 rue de la Paix, the location of Charles Frederick Worth’s atelier.
The year was 1858; two years after Charles Frederick Worth, considered the “Father of Haute Couture” formed a partnership with Swedish Otto Bobergh. An ironic situation, an Englishman and a Swede started what would be the crème de la crème of French fashion.
But it took Worth over a decade before reaching #7 rue de la Paix. The story started in England, when Worth was 13 years old and was an apprentice at Swan & Edgar, a London mercer establishment that specializes in ladies’ dress fabrics.
English fashion during that time was intent on perfecting tailoring methods. So, in 1845, when Charles Worth was 20, he moved to Paris and found that Parisian fashion was made up of female seamstresses who indulge their patrons in female frivolity.
Armed with his knowledge of fabrics and the English fascination with masterful tailoring techniques, Worth realized that aesthetics should be built on a solid foundation of excellent construction.
So while working at Gagelin, an emporium of the finest fabrics and shawls, he started to design dresses for Marie Vernet (who would be his wife), to wear while modeling the shawls for the clients.
The seed of an idea began in that shop. Charles Worth started designing dresses and by 1850, there was already a small “clothes” department at Gagelin selling Worth designs made from the emporium’s fabrics.
In 1851, Gagelin included several of Worth’s dresses during the Great Exhibition at London Crystal Palace. In 1855, one of his creations won a medal at the Exposition Universelle.
A year later, he formed a partnership with Otto Bobergh. In 1858, the House of Worth & Bobergh opened its doors. It would be the precursor to the House of Worth.
Ten years later, Charles Worth would form the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, which would become France’s fashion governing body. And the rest is history.