Third Time's a Charm? Twice Reviving the House of Worth, 1968-1970 and 2003-2013
Established in 1857, the house of Worth was not only the first haute couture house, but was also the first one to be revived. As a matter of fact, it was revived twice, first in 1968-1970 and then again in 2003-2013. Looking at the two instances of revival shows the scope of the changes that occurred in the fashion trade during the second half of the 20th century. From the striking difference between the two periods stems an analysis of the essential debates with regard to the revival of haute couture brands. The case of Worth is typical of the use of the past in revival strategies, the delicate brand repositioning in the luxury fashion industry, as well as the issue of trade legitimacy. Yet, the case of Worth is also unique given its special status in the history of Western fashion as the founding house of haute couture. Thus the study shows how Worth’s mythical status its embeddedness in the collective memory of fashion affected its revival.
Essay for the exhibition book Couturens Hemligheter, ed. Ulrika Kyaga, 2018.
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Cover of Couturens Hemligheter, ed. Ulrika Kyaga, 2018. © Sven-Harrys Museum.