Competitive Advantage of France in Haute Couture
What does "Haute couture" mean? "Haute couture" is a French term, which means high fashion. This expression refers to the elegance and taste of clothing (P. Paccaud, 2004).
France - and particularly Paris - can be considered the birthplace of fashion. It is the largest fashion center of the world (Thomas White Global Investing, 2010). Yet, the "Haute Couture" is more than simple fashion; it represents the fashion jewel and can trace its roots to Paris. Indeed, the fashion luxury industry is the heritage of France and French people are currently held up as the European model of elegance and fashion (V. Barnier, I. Rodina & P. Valette-Florence, 2005). Nowadays, the country tries to protect its advantage in the "Haute Couture" label; a certain number of formal criteria must be met for a fashion house to use the label and a list of eligible houses is made official every year by the French Ministry of Industry. Thus, the "Haute Couture" area in France is exclusive and protected by a professional union, the "Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture" (Modeaparis.com, 2010).
This essay contains a brief description of the Haute Couture area in France, and an analysis of the reason for this nation's advantage in this sector.
[...] - The latest discovery of this “Haute Couture” golden age is Christian Lacroix. He brings about a renewal of idea with his sunny, sassy and bright collections. All those elements determine how Paris became the fashion's capital (V. Mendes & A. de la Haye, 1999). Unfortunately, in this day and age, the “Haute Couture” area employed 4500 people in France that is 87% less than in the inter-war. The industry had decline because of customer number that had also decrease since the appearance of the ready-to-wear industry (P. [...]
[...] Yet, the real notion of Haute Couture appears a century later. The situation changes because of the development of the textile industry, notably the silk in Lyon, and the dyeing improving. It started by a paradox; even if Paris is the fashion capital, it is an English milliner living in France who had created the “Haute Couture”. Indeed, Charles Frederic Worth (1826- 1895) was the first designer who changes the fashion concept by making his own models. He introduced the majority of the innovations of the “Haute Couture” concept: a labelled fashion line, introduced by a fashion show and signed by a personal tag. [...]
[...] It is the birthplace (in 1858) of the concept of luxury fashion. Thus, the “Haute Couture” image will always be link to the city. Moreover, Haute Couture benefits from the Paris renown around the world. The city's image is a strong advantage; it is the appellation “made in Paris” (or else in France), which confers a quality and an elegance label to brands. Indeed, Paris have a high regard for is position as an international fashion leader. Furthermore, the integration of transport between French textile city (such as Lyon) and Paris is also an important asset. [...]
[...] Yet, some people think that can be a kind of opportunity for the “Haute Couture” sector. “This whole crisis is like a big spring housecleaning both moral and physical. There is no creative evolution if you don't have dramatic moments like this. Bling is over. Red carpety covered with rhinestones is out. I call it new modesty.'” Karl Lagerfeld, designer of Chanel. (E. Sciolino, 2009) 12 COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE OF FRANCE IN HAUTE COUTURE The role of government The role of government in the Diamond theory is to influence the fourth leading factors. [...]
[...] Castarède (2007) Histoire du Luxe en France, Eyrolles, Paris, France V. Mendes & A. de la Haye (1999) 20th Century Fashion, Thames & Hudson Ltd, London, England S. Mercado, R. Welford & K. Prescott (2001) European Business, 4th edition, Pearson Education Ltd, England M. Porter (1990) The competitive advantage of nations, 10th edition, PALGRAVE, NewYork, USA V. Steele (1998) Paris fashion: a cultural history, Berg, Oxford, UK Video: L. Prigent (2005) Signé Chanel, Arte Vide, Arte France Websites: Modeaparis.com [Accessed 20.Dec. 2010] Available at: Textile.fr [Accessed 20.Dec. [...]
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