The high-end fashion industry originated in France, in the middle of the nineteenth century, when Chales-Frederick Worh and his followers invented the ‘couturiers’profession.
Worth opened his house in 1868 and decided to sign his creation of his name.
The 1929 crisis and its consequences severely hit the industry. Protectionist measures hindered the exportation of French clothes to its main markets.
The implementation of the Hawley-Smoot tariff significantly penalized French exportations.
The immediate post-war period is a favorable time for the international renewal of the Parisian couture.
Although a handful of Parisian houses has managed so far to dominate the high-end fashion industry and close off its boundaries, they were quickly confronted to a double threat: on the international front by growing competition from abroad and on the domestic one by growing competition from ready to wear and designers.
In the 1950s and the 1960s a strong competition came from Italy. Initiated by Giorgini, an Italian businessman, fashion shows were organized in Florence which attracted considerable interest from the American buyers.
All these issues were eventually addressed through the reformulation of the fashion professional institutions. As consequence, the Parisian fashion shows became increasingly internationalized, and in 2001, the 1945 ‘Haute Couture’ regulation was eventually reformed.