8 bonkers and beautiful facts we bet you didn’t know about haute couture

Behind the frothy dresses, there are some mind-boggling numbers to crunch.

Ahh couture week. It’s the most beautiful event on the global style calendar, a chance to examine fashion’s rarefied, painstaking craft processes and ooh and ahh at the frilliest confections. But behind the frothy dresses by Chanel, Dior, Versace and the like, there are some mind-boggling numbers to crunch.

Here are the whos, whats, whys and how manys of Paris’ haute couture week…

Less than 20 designers qualify to show on the official Paris couture week schedule, but this season, its governing body, the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, has allowed a bunch of guests to show around the same time, including Vetements and J. Mendel.

50 embroiders spent 6,000 hours whipping up the below AW16 Ralph and Russo Haute Couture bridal look from 736 meters of silk tulle. More is more, after all.


2200 seamstresses are qualified to work on couture. The collective is called ‘Les petite mains’, which translates, literally, to small hands.

Iris Van Herpen crafted this AW16 couture dress using close to 1000 blown glass bubbles. Fragile, or what?


It takes 100 hours on average to whip up a couture daywear ensemble. Want to add embroideries, embellishments, or just go for something a bit jazzier? You’re looking at more like 700 hours.

The couture market globally is estimated by The Financial Times to be worth €650million – just 1% of luxury fashion sales globally. £8,000 is the average cost for couture daywear. That price rockets through the hundreds of thousands for anything close to a gown.


There are only approximately 2000 couture customers in the world. Well when the prices are this high, you knew the market would be pretty niche didn’t you?

Reading now

Popular