New Perspectives on Parisian Haute Couture, from 1850 until today

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 Pierre 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.

Papers will be given in French or English.


Friday, March 24, 2017 – Institut National de l’Histoire de l’Art (INHA), 6 rue des Petits Champs, 75002 Paris

Saturday, March 25, 2017 – Institut Français de la Mode (IFM), 36 Quai d’Austerlitz, 75013 Paris

Scientific Committee

This conference is organized by the Institut National de l’Histoire de l’Art (INHA), the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) and the Seminar on Dress History (“Histoire de la mode”) at the Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent (IHTP-CNRS).

Maude Bass-Krueger, Doctor in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture; Associated Researcher, IHTP-CNRS.

Dominique Jacomet, Doctor in Management Sciences; Director, IFM.

Sophie Kurkdjian, Doctor in History; Associated Researcher, IHTP-CNRS.

Pascal Morand, Doctor of the State in Economic Sciences; Executive President, Fédération de la couture, du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode.

Philippe Thiébaut, Senior Heritage Curator, Scientific Advisor, INHA.

David Zajtmann, Doctor in Management Sciences; Professor, IFM.