Haute couture is the crème de la crème of luxury fashion. Made to order by a mere handful of approved design houses that adhere to the rigid requirements as defined by the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture in Paris, the garments can cost upwards of $100,000. There are about 2,000 haute couture clients in the world, and of them only 200 or so are considered to be regular buyers (the rest just wait for the sales. Ha.). Of course, Chanel is one of the makers of these coveted works of art that so few are fortunate enough to own.
So, what goes into making an haute couture garment? To start, it's the uniqueness of design, the expert workmanship and the materials are of the highest quality. They are sewn, embroidered and beaded by hand, and several hundred hours can be required to complete one piece (not including smoke breaks. I joke - I imagine there's a daily sniff-inspection to keep the garments smelling like a cloud in paradise).
Chanel offered a glimpse into how one of the coats from their Fall 2008 Haute Couture collection was created (the final runway look pictured above). This exquisite piece of art-as-outerware took specially-skilled artisans three hundred painstaking hours to make. Here's what happened after Karl Lagerfeld handed his sketch of the herringbone coat to the premier of the atelier:
satin to ensure a perfect fit.
mounting of the pieces, to ensure the proportions are
true to the design.