Worth, Charles Frederick
- Lourdes Font
(b Bourne, Lincs, Oct 13, 1825; d Paris, March 10, 1895)
English-born French dress designer ( see fig. ). Considered the founding father of haute couture, Worth is also remembered as couturier to the Empress Eugénie (1826–1920) during the Second Empire. A fabric salesman turned fashion designer, and a man in what had been a woman’s profession, Worth sought to elevate dressmaking to the status of art.
Worth was born into a middle-class family in northern England. His education was interrupted by the age of 13, when he began an apprenticeship at a dry-goods store in London. Dry-goods stores sold textiles, fashion accessories and some ready-to-wear and custom-made clothing. Worth worked as a salesman at two stores, Swan & Edgar and Lewis & Allenby, the latter suppliers to Queen Victoria. Around 1846 he left for Paris and found employment at A la Ville de Paris, one of the city’s magasins de nouveautés, equivalent to London’s dry-goods stores. Around 1848...