The word "couture" gets thrown around quite a bit, but in reality it's a term reserved for a rarity of occasions. Haute Couture is a name protected by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and limited to a select group who qualify for the distinction. Which is why the semiannual Paris Haute Couture shows, starting once again with the Spring collections on Sunday, are such a brief and exciting period!
Houses including Giambattista Valli and Chanel (as shown above) create spectacles with ornate and intricate hand-stitched made-to-order work. So what techniques in particular should you be looking out for on the runways? Find out — and zoom in on all the embellishments — in the gallery!