Chanel was founded by Gabrielle Chanel, better known as Coco. She was only 12 when her mother died, and to make matters worse, her father then abandoned the family. Coco and her siblings were sent to an orphanage, which is where she learned how to sew. It might not come as a surprise to you that Hermès is the oldest fashion house that is still in business. Guccio Gucci opened a very small saddlery shop in 1906 and started selling practical leather bags to his horsemen customers sometime in the ’20s. Prada, founded by Mario Prada, dates back to Milan, Italy, 1913. Mario sold steamer trunks and imported handbags. Gianni Versace grew up helping his mother, a dressmaker, embroider dresses and do tailoring. He studied architecture and moved to Milan when he was 26 to work in fashion. After working for a couple of designers, he was ready to start his own line and opened his first store in Milan in 1978. In 1856, Thomas Burberry opened a very small store in Hampshire, England, focusing on practical outdoor wear. Almost all fashion houses started with small store or business but with creativity, innovation and good business model grow to become fashion house.
“Fashion House : A business that designs, makes, and sells fashionable clothes that are typically associated with an important designer, or a company that designs news styles of expensive clothes. It is important to note that the expression “fashion house” is associated with a designer or team of designers who create exclusive and often trend-setting garments.”
A fashion label is usually run by an individual and has one designer and a small team of people working for it, on the contrary, a brand is a larger company with several participating in the design and development process and has larger scale marketing and manufacturing.
OLDEST FASHION HOUSES THAT ARE STILL IN OPERATION
1837 – Hermès
1854 – Louis Vuitton
1889 – Lanvin
1909 – Chanel
1913 – Prada
1932 – Nina Ricci
1946 – Dior
1952 – Givenchy
1960 – Valentino
1961 – Yves Saint Laurent
The top fashion houses often have their own distinctive look. It’s what sets them apart and makes them iconic. However, unless you speak fluent fashion, sometimes decoding the top fashion houses might be a bit confusing. Haute couture clothing has been made by hand from start to finish and requires extreme skills to achieve. These include high street brands that mass produce clothes catering to a larger target audience, are affordable (larger price bracket) and aren’t very occasion specific. These clothes are ready-to-wear and keep changing season to season. Now many fashion houses have started to serve Haute couture and high street customers and due to this the basic definition of fashion house is not rationally applicable. These houses have personalized designers’ team but also manufacturing firm, mass advertising, high street stores, branding and brand ambassador, online eCommerce website etc.