Make Money With Haute Couture and Vintage designer Fashion

Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's | Source
Dior black silk faille cocktail dress
Dior black silk faille cocktail dress

Buy vintage Couture and make money

A black Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) sold at Christie's for £467, 200  in December 2006.
A black Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) sold at Christie's for £467, 200 in December 2006. | Source

Vintage Coco Chanel 3 Piece Suit

Source

The scramble for designer clothes donated by the Beckhams

Vintage Fashion: New Look Day Dress by Dior 1947

Vintage Designer Fashion

"Elegance is the only beauty that never fades"

(Audrey Hepburn)

I have to agree with Audrey here, not only do the beauty of elegance never fades, but when beautiful materials are crafted into stunning outfits by a top fashion designer the aesthetic beauty can also be timeless.

If you are one of the lucky few who are in possession of the odd designer pieces just languishing in your wardrobe, you may well be sitting on a goldmine.There is gold in them there dresses!! So start making money from vintage and designer fashion.

Haute Couture

Haute Couture is French for high sewing, high dressmaking, high tailoring or high fashion, it refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing which are sewn entirely by hand.

The Haute Couture name is protected by law, legally, a fashion house can only describe its designs as Haute Couture after meeting some very strict requirements.

Clothing must be from one of 11 Paris couture houses that are registered to the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. To register, fashion houses must follow certain rules. However; In the 21st century, this is not necessarily the case, the term has been misused to the point where the real meaning of couture has become somewhat blurred with time.

Many famous French fashion houses closed during the occupation of Paris in World War ll, Chanel included. However; some of the new ones managed to keep their doors open during this difficult time, and the post war period saw the return to prominence of haute couture through iconic French designers like Dior, Chanel, Balmain and Givenchy, to name a few. These giants, were followed by a host of creative designers from London, New York, and Milan. Although haute couture would undergo a number of changes, it would never-the-less remain quintessentially French.

The rich and well-heeled wants exclusivity; they are prepared to pay for clothing that are unique, with an individual style and elegance, which they found in haute couture. Haute Couture originated in France, with the arrival of Charles Frederick Worth in 1845.

Worth was an Englishman who would ironically become known as the father of Paris couture. His dresses were in such high demand, it became the first clothes in history to carry its own label. Worth was followed by Paul Poiret who lost his throne to the woman with a distinct style all of her own, Coco Chanel.

In this current climate, a designer wardrobe means money. Unwanted couture pieces can be auctioned off for a great deal of money. vintage couture are well made, they are unique and with their famous labels, people are prepared to pay well to acquire them.

Bargain-hunters waited in long queues on a quiet street in Chelsea recently. And no; they were not queuing for the latest Gucci or Jimmy Choo must have accessory, they were jostling for position outside a Red Cross charity shop to purchase used clothing, but not just any old rubbish. This was a one-off sale of top designer outfits, previously worn by Britain's best known trendsetter.

Before moving house, Victoria and David Beckham donated much of their wardrobes to raise money to help survivors of the Philippines Typhoon disaster. Many shoppers eager to get their hands on these top designer clothing waited for hours, although only 150 of them would be allowed to make a purchase.

Investing in a particular designer or in a decade such as the twenties, thirties, sixties, seventies or even the naughty nineties is now akin to collecting art. There is money to be made from collecting fashion items, not only works by famous French designers, although those are at a premium, well made bespoke clothing will make money, as will clothing by new and not so well known designers that are likely to do well in the future.

What to Collect

If you think this may be a good way to earn some money, and would like to give it a whirl, you could start by collecting a favourite designer or decade. You can collect vintage items, or you may prefer to obtain good quality new items that will become vintage.

The real designer outfits

Find out if a designer name is really a genuine designer name, this can be checked through the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris (French Federation of Fashion). the biggest names in the world of fashion who are considered to be high-end couturiers are listed here as members.

Check the list of grand couturiers for ideas of names you may want to keep an eye out for. The real vintage clothing is in high demand, mainly because the names are no longer produced.

Names such as Charles Worth, Norman Hartnell, Biba, Mariano Fortuny and Paul Poiret were all high fliers in their time and are highly sort after today. However, items from original designers of houses that still exists today, like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Versace are also just as desirable. Rare pieces that were produced in a limited quantIty and remain in good condition will retain or increase their value. Museums who buy from auction houses prefers smaller sizes, therefore you may find that the smaller sizes are more valuable that the larger ones.

Decade of Fashion

When choosing fashion by decade, it's a good idea to dig around fashion achieves to gain an understanding of what is fashionable and trendy, or what was the trademark of a particular designer.

Collaborations by certain well known designers with high street retailers has yet to prove their worth in the vintage market. From Karl Lagerfeld for H&M to Zandra Rhodes for Marks and Spencer, these joint ventures has yet to show up in the auction houses or become vintage. Unfortunately; despite the impressive names, these clothing are only likely to bring in a small profit, since the quality remains high street.

Fashion Trendsetter

By reading up on fashion and its history you can see which trends were popular way back or even as recent as fashion week 2011, 2012 and 2013, look at Paris fashion week, Milan fashion week, London and Toronto they are the perfect medium to soak up the atmosphere and learn about the fashion designer game. Learn about specific fashion houses that have inspired a particular trend and who led the way with the most innovative designs. When choosing, it is a good idea to go for inspirational pieces that created the greatest impact.

The internet is a great way to research. Consider whether the item in question may have appeared on the covers of major magazines, was it controversial, maybe a trendsetter that was innovating for its time, and if so why?

Fashion from the 40s were influenced by wartime rationing and are more restrained; the emphasis was primarily on comfort. However; after the war, Christian Dior caused quite a stir with the 'new look' fitted jackets and full skirts, his designs are highly sought after by collectors. Dior black faille cocktail dress could be worth in the region of £1000-£2000.

The 60s were a great decade for fashion, with inspiration by designers like Mary Quant and shops like Biba, this was a time when the radical hemlines began to get shorter, and the mini was born.

Make money from designer outfits

Items of clothings from a top fashion designer can be worth as much as the price of a small car. The reasons for this:

  • They were made in limited numbers

  • Made by hand

  • Big name designers

  • Time consuming to create a couture piece

  • Valuable when first released

  • Becomes pieces of cultural history

  • Signature of its decade

  • Becomes historical artefact


What is Vintage Fashion

Vintage is about the era in which an item was produced. It should be of a certain quality and designed with a timeless beauty that is pleasing aesthetically. As a rule, vintage fashion refers to clothing and accessories at least 20 years old, but since vintage fashion is now so coveted and sought after, an item may be referred to as 'vintage' although it may only be two or three seasons old.

The best places to buy vintage and couture items are from auction houses in key market cities; this is where vintage dealers and costume museums look for stock. The large ones are Doyle in New York, Drouot in Paris, Kerry Tailor in London and Julien's in Los Angeles.

In 2006, the auction house Christie's in London sold the little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film, Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961) for a massive £467,200. The dress that was actually sold below its estimate price was made especially for the actress by Monsieur Givenchy.

Finding vintage items of this calibre and pedigree is not an easy task, but one can still make good money from vintage and designer clothing. The historical context and notoriety can help to add value to them.

Even pieces that may not appear to be much of a steal at the moment, can become much sought after in the future, based on the particular item, the design, the designer and of course, the reputation of the previous owner, a seemingly ordinary design can prove to be a big earners .

Famous Fashion Brand

David and Victoria Beckham are 21st century icons of fashion, they are Britain's most popular celebrity couple, and are known worldwide. Someone on TV recently commented, that if he were to be taken prisoner in some far-flung country, he could bridge the gap in language and culture by repeating the name of David Beckham. Well... I wouldn't go out of my way to prove the point, but it would seem that the popular footballer and his former Spice Girl wife, are so well know, that a simple mention of the Beckham's name, (itself a popular brand), may well be able to save lives in a hostage situation. Victoria's tiny size 6, her notoriety and her fashion style makes her clothing very collectable.

The bargain hunters seen queuing at the Red Cross Charity Shop in Chelsea, are very aware of the fact that designer wardrobes can prove to be very lucrative indeed.

Vintage Shops Include:

Atelier Mayer

Vintage Academe's

The FROCK.com vintage wedding dresses

Vintage Couture www.onlineonly.christies.com

Vintage clothing www.oxfam.org.uk/vintage

Source

From the fabulously outrageous Britain Fashion Designer Zandra Rhodes, princess of punk

Collect vintage fashion from your favourite decade

Which decade's fashion style do you love the most?

See results without voting

(2012) 11 Registered Haute Couture French Designers


  • Stephane Rolland

  • Adeline Andre

  • Anne Valerie Hash

  • Christophe Josse

  • Giambattista Valli

  • Franck Sorbier

  • Christian Dior

  • Chanel

  • Givenchy

  • Atelier Gustavolins

  • Jean Paul Gaultier

Chanel 80s Haute Couture Suit
Chanel 80s Haute Couture Suit

Buy new designs that will become vintage

Dress by Stella McCartney who launched her fashion house in partnership with Kering, she showed her first collection in Paris in 2001 and designed kit for team GB for the London olympic. The British designer was presented with the OBE
Dress by Stella McCartney who launched her fashion house in partnership with Kering, she showed her first collection in Paris in 2001 and designed kit for team GB for the London olympic. The British designer was presented with the OBE

Look out for what will become Vintage

Vintage wedding dress

painting of dress designed by Charles Frederick Worth for Elizabeth of Austria
painting of dress designed by Charles Frederick Worth for Elizabeth of Austria

Christian Dior Haute Couture

Source

Fabulous frock that oozes femininity

 Black Dress, photograph by Adam Kuehl
Black Dress, photograph by Adam Kuehl | Source

Collectable Fashion for the Future

Source
Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) The Englishman known as the father of haute couture, he was also credited for the very first designer label
Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) The Englishman known as the father of haute couture, he was also credited for the very first designer label | Source

Dior Black and White Vintage Gown

The Secret World of Haute Couture: BBC Documentary

More by this Author


28 comments

tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Hi Pamela, a pleasure to see you on this Sunday morning....I'm so please to know that you enjoyed the hub. The dress mentioned, is one of my favourite also, I found the photo before I began writing the hub, saved it, but forgot to include the link and designer. However, I'm pretty sure that the designer was Italian. Thank you for stopping by, much appreciated and my best as always.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

This is an awesome hub. I particularly like that first down with the gold colors that wraps to the side as it is so elegant. You really did a marvelous job with all the pictures and the information. I enjoyed this hub thoroughly. Voted up, awesome and shared.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Hi quildon, very nice to see you....collecting clothes is not necessarily for everyone, but we never know when an opportunity may present itself. Audrey Hepburn is the essence of elegance and glamour, she make anything look good. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, thank you for stopping by and my best to you.


quildon profile image

quildon 3 years ago from Florida

Very informative and interesting hub! Just reading about Audrey Hepburn and looking at her clothes is a pleasure. I can't see myself buying vintage clothing to sell though, but I enjoyed reading about them and looking at the pictures. Voted up and interesting.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Hi Susan, thank you so much for stopping by, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, take care and my best to you.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Devika, nice to see you! Fashion can be a very individual thing, however; occasionally, we just happen to choose something that's a little special and is also appreciated by those who enjoy collecting and are prepared to pay handsomely for the privilege, it's a win, win situation. :) I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, my best as always.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Suzette, I'd forgotten how much I loved pretty frocks, this was great fun to do, there were such a lot of beautiful clothing to choose from, I was completely spoilt for choice. Take good care of your Cassini pieces, this designer dressed many Hollywood stars and no less than Jacqueline Kennedy, so good luck with you pieces. My best as always.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Hi Torrilynn, it's so nice to see you! thank you for stopping by and yes, vintage clothing are collectable and very lucrative, now is a good time to get started. Take care and my best to you.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Hi Kim, I'm so glad you enjoyed the hub, I certainly had a lot of fun putting it together. I can't imagine being a size 6, there was a time when I use to be size 10 UK, which I think is an 8 US, but I'm quite tall so I guess that was pretty slim, all very long ago. Thank you for checking this out and for the vote and share, I hope your daughter-in-law likes the hub. My best to you.

Jo.


Susan Recipes profile image

Susan Recipes 3 years ago from India

I liked the designs. Very well written hub. Voted up.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Make Money With Haute Couture and Vintage designer Fashion is an interesting insight to fashion from all times but I always bought what I liked not with fashion the photos are gorgeous and you showed me about fashion here.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

I really enjoyed this article, Jo. I love fashion and so I really got into this. You give some great money-making ideas with these fashion tips. I actually have a piece of couture - an Oleg Cassini piece - that I didn't realize is now couture. I may have to put it on ebay! LOL I like the Beckhams and I always love to see what Victoria is wearin. LOL I never thought of making money by dealing in couture, but this is a fun suggestion. Thanks for an entertaining idea!


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

I never would have thought to buy vintage clothes and to sell them. Interesting indeed. Thanks for the article. Voted up.


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

Jo,

Oh, to be a tiny size 6 again...LOVE THIS HUB! I love vintage clothing and accessories. It is difficult for me to choose a particular era as a favorite, but I can tell you this hub is a favorite for sure. Stellar work all around. My future daughter-in-law teachers Consumer Science and has a unit on clothing. I know she will definitely enjoy this one as well.

Voted Up and Shared.

Kim


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Hi Flourish, thanks for taking a look at this, I'm so glad you've enjoyed it. Your mother-in-law's gift to you must be very special, it may be a good idea to have your vintage pieces valued, even if you may not wish to part with them, it's good to know if they are valuable, and they may well be, given the good condition and small size. Good luck with the them.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Frank, always a pleasure to see you. You're a star for braving this girlie domain, but I really appreciate the support. Have a wonderful day and my best to you.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Timeless beauty in these lovely pieces. I just love some of these trends. We were fortunate enough to have inherited a few pieces of well-maintained vintage fashions from my husband's mother from the 50s and 60s. They are cute quite tiny, nothing I'll every wear, but they are pretty to look at.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

tobusiness just dropped by to give you my support...don't think I wanna make money with designs, but im sure so many here will bless you


tobusiness 3 years ago

Hi Jackie, you're right of course, Audrey Hepburn is one of those people who are just naturally elegant, It's not fair, is it? When some of us have to work so hard at it. :) Thank you so much for taking the time, much appreciated and my best to you.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

There are some of those I really love. Hepburn I have never seen a picture she didn't look stylish and I think for any time. Great fun stuff! ^


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Hi Faith, Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family. Thank you for taking a look at this. Audrey Hepburn always manages to look fabulously elegant, whatever she wears. I think the film was released in 1961, I love the Givenchy dresses but I also like the 40s and 70s fashion. Always a pleasure to see you, take care and my best as always.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Hi Jo,

I can understand why one could make a ton of money as the designs are timeless and beautiful! I did not answer the poll, as I am not sure what year is what. I do love whatever Hepburn wears! So whichever year that would be, is my year. I really love the vintage styles for both men and women.

Awesome hub and love the photos and all of the videos!

Up and more and sharing

Blessings, Faith Reaper


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Bill, I know exactly what you mean. I feel much sexier in a one piece swimsuit than a bikini. You're a man with good taste, but I already knew that. :) Take care my friend, my best to you as always.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I am so out of it regarding fashion; I had to read this just to find out what the title meant. LOL I do know that I like the old styles, the styles that suggestion a woman's figure without showing every ounce of skin that she has. Allow the mystery and imagination to see what isn't shown if that makes any sense.

Anyway, well-done and actually very interesting. I loved Audrey Hepburn. :)

blessings always

bill


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Hi Wetnose, I know just what you mean. :) I would find some of these outfits had to give up also. Thank you for taking a look, much appreciated, my very best to you and the gang.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K Author

Hi Kidscraft, thank you for taking the time to read and leave such a wonderfully insightful comment. You are right of course, fashion is a very personal thing, but like fine art we can also appreciate a beautiful design, even if it may not be something we would go out buy personally.

I had a major flirtation with the world of fashion in the late seventies and into the eighties. I took a modelling course at the London Academy of Modelling and actually did some catwalk and a few photos for magazines, then I discovered food and that, as they say was that.:) I thought that over the years I'd managed to get the world of fashion out of my blood, but doing the research for this, and looking at some many gorgeous frocks I'm not quite sure. Always a pleasure to see you, take care and my best to you.


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

I like the dresses of old, but I couldn't see me wearing one.

This would be something to get into in selling. Though, packrat that I am, I would probably keep to admire. :)


kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

I love that little black dress of Audrey Hepburn.... but it must be most impracticable to walk in it :-)

I don't follow the trends in fashion because I like to dress "neutral classic". May be some people would qualify that as dull but the advantage is that I don't have to buy a new wardrobe at each season. One time I took a risk with an evening gown and when I received a picture after, I did some adjustments in Photoshop because I found the front a little bit to low ;-)

I like the pictures you chose except for the Zandra Rhodes. I can't see myself wearing clothes with holes everywhere!

I think fashion is so personal in a certain way. But I must say that I don't mind seeing people with flashy clothes; I just know they are not for me! Clothes are like art... the difference is that we can wear it!

What is interesting with fashion is that styles are evolving through time and on a regular basis, some styles come back again after a while.

Even if I don't follow fashion trend, I noticed that Victoria Beckham is usually dressed in a " neutral classical" way.

Very interesting hub, Jo! I like also the fact that you touch all kind of subjects in your hubs, from medical, to poetry or internet subject, etc. Just great! Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful day!

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