There is no Bias in Bias Cut: Deepening Fashion Terminologies

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Take a guided tour with Neeti, our Fashion Guru, through the maze of fashion terminologies. She elucidates the fashion lingo in a fascinating way. Learn more about Pret-a- Porter, Haute Couture, Avante-Garde, , , , etc. Read and know more in her weekly column, Fashion Fundas, exclusively for Different Truths.

Hello Fashionistas!

It’s always a pleasure to connect with you on my favourite topic – Fashion!

So how was the walk through the maze of Fashion terminology last week? Hope you enjoyed my play of words in my poetry about the “It Girl” who breathes and bleeds fashion. Today, I’m going to take you to the next part of this ride to help you pick up some more words from the Fashion lingo!

Pret-a- Porter (pronounced phret-a- portey):

A French term meaning “”, often abbreviated as RTW! I’m sure you have heard about the “Ready to Wear” collection of designers being showcased in fashion weeks and in their stores! Another term used for the same is “off-the- rack” or “off-the- peg” (used more for handbags). RTW basically

means factory-made clothing, sold in completely finished condition, made in standardized sizes for the masses. It is different from “Bespoke clothing” or “Made to Measure” clothing, where the measurements of a person are taken and then clothing is stitched. Bespoke is much more expensive than RTW.

(pronounced oat ku-tour):

Now that’s another French term you must have heard many times if you are fond of reading fashion news and attending fashion shows! Haute means “high” or “elegant”. Couture literally means “sewing”, but has come to indicate the business of designing, creating, and selling custom-made, high fashion women’s clothes. Most of these are hand-sewn where even the trims are designed and handmade thus consuming a lot of time and energy. It requires at least three fittings and can take from 100 hours to 400 house per

Haute Couture

Haute Couture

dress! In international market this would cost between $26,000 to over $100,000. A tailored suit starts at $16,000, an evening gown at $60,000.

In the true sense, to be called an haute couture house, a business must belong to the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture in Paris, which is regulated by the French Department of Industry. Members must employ 15 or more people and present their collections twice a year.

Each presentation must include at least 35 separate outfits for day and eveningwear. Nowadays the term is being used more casually though but that’s what it really means.

Chanel, Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin are few of these designers. In India Rohit Bal, Ritu Kumar, JJ Valaya, etc do take out high end collections too but not in the range of international brands.

Bias Cut:

Bias Cut

Bias Cut

Ever noticed your churidaars / circular skirts/ anarkalis? These have a lot of swirl and twist and give you ease and beautiful body hugging fitting. All this is because of the bias cut employed while making these garments! Bias is the diagonal direction of a woven fabric. Unless woven from stretch yarns, normal woven fabrics stretch more in the bias direction than in the length or width. Designers can take advantage of this stretch by manipulating the fabric so that the bias areas fall in ways that cause the designs to fit the body more closely or drape into soft folds. Designer Madeline Vionnet (active 1912 to 1940) was credited and known for bias cut designs.

Avante-Garde (pronounced uh-vahnt-gahrd):



Another French term meaning ‘Ahead of times’. It could be someone who is much advanced or ahead in any field, especially in fashion, art, literary, etc. It is mainly for those whose works are unorthodox, rebellious and experimentally daring and radical!

Boho Chic:

Boho Chic

Boho Chic

Currently very in, this is a fashion trend that is part bohemian and part chic. It is tied to the vintage phenomenon in fashion where the trend was to bring back vintage styles for the modern era. Boho chic combines organic, colourful, detailed, folk-inspired pieces with simple, modern pieces. An example would be wearing a beaded peasant dress with an off shoulder white tank top with colourful embroidery and ties!





 or fashion of the 90’s derived from a movement in rock music (think- Nirvana!) characterised by unkempt clothing, plaid (check) shirts, torn ripped jeans, shabby out-of- bed messy hair ! Many celebrities love this grunge look!

Passè: No longer in style. Faded, of the past.


In literal terms, slumming means hanging out with someone of much different social economic status usually for the reason of wanting to look cool or to feel more connected with another culture very different from one’s upbringing. In typical fashion sense, it means dressing down for the occasion, or in clothing much less fashionable or trendy or less expensive that what one is usually seen in.



Ah! This I’m sure you can relate to, my classy dudes and divas! It is a word that denotes a person or a style

Classy Basics

Classy Basics

which is elegant and timeless and has an aura or presence of its own. Being classy is all about being comfortable in being yourself. It’s not about what you wear but how you wear it. It’s about the way you act, talk, walk, your mannerisms and the way you express and live which can term you as a Classy person! Classy styles are the ones that never go out of fashion like the (LBD), blue jeans, white shirt, tees, black heels, etc.

Wow, time flies when I dive deep into my world of fashion! I hope you enjoyed this swim with me and in coming weeks I will talk of more aspects of fashion and also share fashion terms every week along with my fashion fundas to keep you all in the loop!

Till then, stay Classy and !

Bibliography terms-slang- glossary/

Fashion Dictionary glossary/

Here is the link to the last week’s article for your easy reference, in case you missed it out or might like to refresh.

Walk-n- Talk the F-Language!

©Neeti Banga

Pix sourced by author from Net

Neeti Banga, a fashion professional, is currently a faculty at her Alma Mater, NIFT, New Delhi. Her poems and short stories have won national and international awards. These are published in various anthologies. Her Poetry anthology, ‘The Dewdrops…a journey begins’, with two co-poets is a best seller. Wild, nomadic and romantic at heart, her gypsy soul finds solace in expression through painting and writing. She is penning her short story collection and her debut novel.