High fashion, or Haute Couture is the creation of exquisite clothing custom made for individual elite clients. It is not mainstream, as they use the best quality and rarest materials available, as well as personalized craftsmanship, hence the name Haute Couture.
Some fashion houses that have been very successful employ the best seamstresses and live by well-defined standards of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
Those criteria are:
- Custom designs for private clients
- Have a workshop, or as the French call it ‘Atelier’ in Paris with a minimum full-time staff of 15
- Employ at least 20 full-time technical people in at least one atelier
- Showcase a collection of 50 pieces to the public of both day and evening wear twice a year (January and July) in one of the fashion capitals of the world (Paris, Milan, London, New York or Tokyo).
This is one of the reasons it is very difficult if not nearly impossible for newcomers to break in this market.
Despite the uncertainty the state of the world is in at the moment, the fashion sector has not suffered a major hit. Most of the designers we are going to mention are based in Europe and their loyal clientele is keeping their business striving.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the 15 most popular high end clothing brands in the world right now:
15. Dolce and Gabbana
Their inspiration is a Mediterranean street-style and youthful way of life, which makes their brand on the more affordable side.
This legendary London based luxury fashion house was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry.
Known across the globe for their signature check design, they design ready to wear outerwear, cashmere scarves, leather goods and cosmetics.
Valentino Garavani is the name behind this legendary brand which he created in 1960, after working as an apprentice designer in Paris. His signature Valentino RED is what really makes him stand out from the other fashion designers.
Primarily catering to women, this conglomerate was acquired by Qatar in 2012 through Mayhoola for Investments S.P.C. for 700 million Euros.
Founded in 2012 by American fashion designer and entrepreneur DJ Virgil Abloh, Off-white is a luxury fashion label based in Milan, Italy. With his ingenuity and indisputable talent, Virgil Abloh has mainstreamed the haute couture market.
Artistic director at Louis Vuitton since March 2018, this creative genius has been collaborating with numerous brands since his arrival on the scene. Off-White’s most popular item has got to be their sneaker.
World renowned for its men and women’s fashion collection, Givenchy has been the ambassador of elegance and sophistication since 1952.
With its timeless yet casual chic, Givenchy has been a clothing, fragrance and cosmetics empire due to Hubert de Givenchy, who insisted on high standards since his arrival on the scene. His friendship with Audrey Hepurn has elevated the brand’s popularity to this day.
This Spanish luxury fashion house was founded in San Sebastian back in 1917 by the talented designer Cristobal Balenciaga.
Due to his uncompromising standards as a couturier he was named the ‘master of us all’ by Christian Dior. Today the creative director of Balenciaga is Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia.
9. Yves Saint Laurent
Founded in 1961 by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge, the French haute couture house became famous for its iconic women’s tuxedo blazers.
The house welcomed a second life in 2015 under former artistic director Hedi Slimane, who brought a different point of view to their classic style.
Prada S.p.A. was founded in Italy back in 1913 by Mario Prada and has remained in the family ever since, headed by his granddaughter Miuccia Prada since 1978.
She has brought Prada its fame due to her minimalist designs and creating the trademark bags they are well-known for.
Another Italian fashion powerhouse, Fendi was introduced in 1925 by italian duo Adele and Edoardo Fendi.
This luxury brand gained its popularity in the 1960’s when Karl Lagerfeld created the FF (fun fur) logo which is recognizable wherever you happen to be in the world.
Primarily a womenswear luxury brand, Dior was founded in Paris in 1946 by fashion designer Christian Dior. Today the House of Dior is owned by Groupe Arnault and its most recent CEO is Sidney Toledano, who holds this position since 2015.
Dior has employed many designers since his founder’s death in 1954, Maria Grazia Chiuri being their most recent addition.
The Hermes fashion house was first founded by Thierry Hermes in 1837 as Hermes International. When you hear the name Hermes one item automatically comes to mind – the scarf.
Their Birkin bag has also been their most iconic piece since 1984 and has been the most sought after handbag in the world with long waiting lists. Needless to say, it is not a mainstream item and only a few of the elite can afford to own one. But us mere mortals can dream, can’t we?
Gianni Versace was the founder of this powerhouse Italian couture brand in 1978 in Milan. He involuntarily brought even more fame to his fashion house in 1997 when he was murdered.
His sister Donatella took over the family business since and she has honoured his hard work through the decades.
3. Louis Vuitton
One of the older fashion houses in the world, Louis Vuitton was founded in 1854 by French designer and businessman Louis Vuitton. Their leather goods are have always been very stylish and popular to this day.
They have expanded their market with other lavish accessories such as jewelry, sunglasses, shoes and stationery.
Guccio Gucci founded this famous Italian luxury fashion house in Tuscany back in 1921. Their signature design is so typically Italian and it’s recognized throughout the world, with so many sought after expensive items.
Kering is the current owner of the famed brand and its creative director is Alessandro Michele. Throughout the decades they have had their share of controversy as well, which in hindsight probably saved the company.
Founded in 1910 in Paris by Gabrielle Coco Chanel, this is by far the most popular luxury fashion house in the world. Chanel exudes elegance and class with its minimalist classic designs.
Their signature Chanel no.5 perfume is probably the most famous scent in the world and the CC logo designed by Coco Chanel herself in 1925 made the brand what it is. Due to the genius of Karl Lagerfeld, he saved the house in 1983 when he became the head designer of the brand until his death in 2019.
We hope you enjoyed the tour! Are any of them your favorite?