Fashion Fact #4

Charles Worth was the first fashion designer.

Charles Frederick Worth was the first dressmaker to put a label on his dresses and the first to sell his own designs to the customers, rather than let them dictate the cuts they wanted. This is also a rather depressing fact for the French, as Worth, a British man, is considered the “founder” of haute couture, a practice that is considered very French today.

Silk ballgown by Charles Frederick Worth. (1872)

Rather than act as a dressmaker, where customers would come in a tell them what they wanted, House of Worth held four fashion shows a year, and his clients would choose garments from the shows. He was the first to actually design dresses and sell the designs to his customers. The garments would then be made to fit the client. (By the way, this was all happening around the 1850’s through to the 1890’s, years before Chanel, Poiret, or Vionnet came onto the scene.)

House of Worth recently showed its first ever ready-to-wear show for Spring Summer 2011. But don’t get excited people, it is a poor representation of what used to be one of the finest fashion houses in the world.

Read more Fashion Facts:

Fashion Fact #1 Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent went to the same fashion design school
Fashion Fact #2 Donna Karan invented the bodysuit
Fashion Fact #3 Halston pioneered the concept of a brand ambassador in fashion

Image from Met Museum.

  • anya

    Fascinating! This is the first time I’ve heard of Charles Worth and I have to thank you for it. I love the Fashion Fact feature!

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  • sol

    thanks for featuring Worth, he is so rarely mentioned.
    everyone makes it appear as if chane re-invented the wheel