Charles Frederick Worth was an English fashion designer who founded the House of Worth, one of the foremost fashion houses of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He is considered by many fashion historians to be the father of haute couture. Worth is also credited with revolutionising the business of fashion.
Established in Paris in 1858, his fashion salon soon attracted European royalty, and where they led monied society followed. An innovative designer, he adapted 19th-century dress to make it more suited to everyday life, with some changes said to be at the request of his most prestigious client Empress Eugénie. He was the first to replace the fashion dolls with live models in order to promote his garments to clients, and to sew branded labels into his clothing; almost all clients visited his salon for a consultation and fitting – thereby turning the House of Worth into a society meeting point. By the end of his career, his fashion house employed 1,200 people and its impact on fashion taste was far-reaching. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has said that his "aggressive self-promotion" earned him the title of the first couturier.