Program Dates, Times & Details

Session Dates

Session II: August 3-28, 2020
Duration: 4 weeks
Live (Synchronous) Session Times: Mondays; 6:30 – 8 p.m. EST
Cost: $344
Course Number: 72729

Dates & Deadlines  Registration Information

Course Description:

This course will cover the history and influences of the Parisienne Haute Couture fashion industry. We will begin in the mid 19th century with what is considered the start of ‘modern couture’, then move to in-depth discussion about the  importance of French couture in the mid 20th century, wrapping up with how today’s couture affects all levels of the global fashion industry.

From the ‘Father of Modern Couture’, Charles Frederick Worth, to the cutting edge designs by Iris Van Herpen, we will examine the French couture industry, and will unlock secrets to the incredible cost of these garments. Included will be the examination, inside and out, of actual couture garments, by some of the leading French couture designers, found in Syracuse University’s Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection.

Program Objectives

  • To understand the origins of haute couture fashion in Paris
  • To become familiar with key French couture designers
  • To recognize construction features that define couture
  • To understand the high cost associated with haute couture
  • To understand the importance of the French couture industry to the fashion industry as a whole

Common Lectures Include

  • The Birth of Haute Couture 1858-1900
  • The Golden Age of Haute Couture 1947-1967
  • Analysis of couture garments by Dior, Chanel, Balmain and Balenciaga
  • Haute Couture today
  • What Next for Couture

Guest Speakers

Potential guest speakers include:

  • Amy de la Haye; British fashion historian, author and former curator of the V and A costume collection
  • Elizabeth Emanuel; British fashion designer best known for her dress design, along with husband David, for the wedding of Princess Diana

Program & Technology Requirements

Required Technology

  • Reliable internet access
  • Minimally, a laptop with webcam and audio. (Best would be a monitor connected to laptop or desktop)

Required Textbook

Steele, Valerie. Paris Fashion: a Cultural History. London: Bloomsbury, 1998.
ISBN 978 1859739730


Jeffrey Mayer

Professor, Program Coordinator; Fashion Design Program

Professor Jeffrey Mayer is the program coordinator for the Fashion Design program, the Curator of the Syracuse University Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection, and author of ‘Vintage Details; a Fashion Sourcebook’ which features vintage garments from the collection, and soon to be released ‘500 Patterns’ a sourcebook of American and European textile prints by subject category, both published by Laurence King, London.

His teaching within the program varies from hands-on design in the area of Couture Construction, Flat Pattern, Draping and Illustration to Textiles and the History of Fashion.

Mayer holds an advanced degree from University of Connecticut and along with co-designer, Todd Conover, designed high-end evening wear under the label Conover Mayer from 1994-2006 which sold at such retailers as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

Read about how Mayer’s Advanced Fashion Illustration students worked with a famous British designer on a project Spring semester 2020! And check out the fashion design program’s Instagram page!