CFP: New Perspectives on Parisian Haute Couture, from 1850 until today

New Perspectives on Parisian Haute Couture, from 1850 until today 

Who: Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Institut Français de la Mode, Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent. With the collaboration of the Fédération de la couture du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode.

When:March 24-25, 2017

Where: Paris, France

Submission guidelines: Please send a 200 word abstract before September 10, 2016 to the following address: Papers can be delivered in either French or English. Simultaneous translation will not be provided.

On the occasion of the installation of the Jacques Doucet collection in the prestigious Labrouste room on the rue de Richelieu, this international conference intends to pay tribute to the figure of the couturier by offering a renewed examination of the history of Parisian Haute Couture and its actors, creative processes, materials, channels of diffusion, clients, and status, which has greatly evolved since its birth at the end of the 19th century under Charles Frederick Worth. The history of Haute Couture has most commonly been studied from the point of view of its creators, whose signature and whose label, invested with a certain “magical” power, to quote Paul Bourdieu, have often been used to understand the mechanisms and success of the designers and their creations.

This conference seeks to reassess the history of Haute Couture by taking into consideration its inherent contradictions: the tensions between couture as both commerce and art; couture’s relationship with ready-to-wear and mass produced clothing; and contemporary questions relating to industrialization, “fast fashion,” and the impact of the digital on the artisanal.

In the interest of moving the discussion towards new topics, the committee is less interested in monographic studies than in papers that explore the social, economic, and cultural history of Haute Couture, as well as papers that emphasize original archives.

The papers should address one of the following areas:

– Haute Couture’s economic circuits: production, display, sale, and diffusion

– Mapping the maison de couture: the spaces and places of fashion

– The relationship between the couturier and the clients

– Haute Couture: between art and commerce

– Communication and creativity: couture’s new forms of diffusion and promotion

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