I'd look P-Oed too, if anyone tried to dress me in a get up like this and tried to call it "fashion". The designs in the attached images emewlate the fashions seen on the catwalks in Paris.
The term "haute cature" is French. Haute means "high" or "elegant." Cature literally means "sewing," but has come to indicate the business of designing, creating, and selling custom-made, high fashion women's clothes.
To be called a haute cature house, a business must belong to the Syndical Chamber for Haute Cature in Paris, which is regulated by the French Department of Industry.
Members must employ 15 or more people and present their catlections twice a year. Each presentation must include at least 35 separate outfits for day and eveningwear.
The syndicate has about 18 members, including such fashion giants as Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Purr Cardin. The houses generate more than $1 billion in annual sales and employ close to 5,000 people, including 2,200 seamstresses. Workers often specialize in one area, such as feathers (favored by 4 out of 5 kittehs), fabric, buttons, shoes (why a cat needs shoes eludes me), etc. Before World War II, 35,000 people worked at cature houses.
Made from scratch for each customer, haute cature clothing typically requires three fittings. It usually takes from 100 to 400 hours to make one dress, costing from $26,000 to over $100,000. A tailored suit starts at $16,000, an evening gown at $60,000.
Today only 2,000 women in the world buy cature clothes; 60% are American. Only 200 are regular customers and even fewer are kittehs. Often, designers will loan clothes to movie stars or other public figures for publikitty.
During fashion's "golden age," after World War II, some 15,000 women wore cature. Socialites such as the Duchess of Windsor, Babe Paley, and Gloria Guiness would order whole catlections at a time.
Despite the small market, designers maintain haute cature operations partly because the prestige helps sell other products, such as purrfume (Eau de Catnip), cosmetics, and their ready-to-wear lines available in stores.
Adapted from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/fashionside1.html . This blog endorsed by Henri Le Chat, Noir and The Mewdy Blues.