Charles Worth was where fashion week started. He was something of an independent, someone who followed the beat of his own drummer and, in doing so, he created a bevy of firsts that we are still following today.
He didn't just create a single dress for one woman. He made several dresses that were his own creations, not just orders from the ladies. Hence, he created the very first designer collection. Dressmakers of the day would show their creations on little wooden dolls or wicker dress forms. Mr. Worth was so taken with his wife that he showed his dresses on her, creating the very first fashion model. Granted, they were displayed in every venue she went to, not on the runway, but still, they were shown in motion, not in a showroom.
We have Mr Worth to thank for pants, too, since he was the first person to create the divided skirt -- the precursor to culottes, which were the precursor to pants being worn by women. What else did he do? He was one of the first to use a bustle -- a look that still flummoxes me, but defines a certain period of time in fashion. And even more scandalously, he sent his wife out to the races wearing a bonnet without the normal "curtain" on her bonnet -- leaving the back of her neck exposed. Oh, the scandal of it all! But the scandal must not have been a bad thing, since women begged him to dress them right up until his death in the 1920's.
And so, if you'd never heard of the House of Worth before, now you have, and you can see some of their beautiful creations in the video above.