Fashion design is the applied art dedicated to the design of clothing and lifestyle accessories. The first fashion designer who was not merely a dressmaker was Charles Frederick Worth (1826-1895). Throughout the 1920s and '30s, all high fashion originated in Paris. American and British fashion magazines sent editors to the Paris fashion shows. Department stores sent buyers to the Paris shows, where they purchased garments to copy (and openly stole the style lines and trim details of others). Both made-to-measure salons and ready-to-wear departments featured the latest Paris trends, adapted to the stores' assumptions about the lifestyles and pocket books of American customers.
The fashion houses closed during occupation of Paris during World War II, and several designers permanently relocated to New York. Paris recovered its primacy in the post-war era with Dior's New Look, but Paris was never the sole arbiter of trends again.
The rise of British fashion design in the mid-sixties and designers such as Mary Quant and Betsey Johnson signaled the end of French dominance. Taking their cue from street fashion, these designers catered to a younger consumer and offered retailers a new source of inspiration. Vivienne Westwood's street-inspired styles "created? the image which is now generally considered as Punk. Later, New York designers including Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren raised American sportswear to the level of high fashion.
Modern fashion design is roughly divided into two categories, haute couture and ready-to-wear. A designer's haute-couture collection is meant exclusively for private customers and is custom sized, cut and sewn. To qualify as an official "haute couture" house, a designer or company must belong to the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture, a Paris-based body of designers governed by the French Department of Industry that includes American, Italian, Japanese and other designers as well. A haute couture house must show collections twice yearly with at least 35 separate outfits in each show. It is often shown on the catwalk and in private salons. Ready-to-wear collections are not custom made. They are standard sized which makes them more suitable for larger productions.
Although many modern fashion designers work in a "traditional" way, making clothes that are fancy and expensive, but still based on standard or traditional construction and design concepts, some designers have broken these "rules" over the years. Most fashion designers attend an Academie of fine arts. Fashion design courses are considered applied arts just like graphic design and interior design.
Shoes sold in Western cultures generally fall into one of the following categories: dress, casual, work, snow, athletic and fashion boots. Smooth and supple leather uppers, leather soles and narrow sleek shape categorize dress shoes. Although dress shoes are commonly made to be worn by one of the sexes, such as men's shoes or women's shoes, many styles of dress shoes can be worn by either sex. The majority of dress shoes have an upper covering, commonly made of leather, enclosing most of the lower foot, but not covering the ankles.