Couture is short for haute couture. It is the French term for the business in which original apparel designs are created by designers and the items are manufactured in the couture house using exceptionally fine sewing. Couture refers to the making of custom-fitted, exclusive, fashions that are made with the finest of materials, and by the most skilled sewers. In the same manner that sparkling wine can only be marketed as Champagne if it is produced in the Champagne region of France, sartorial fashions cannot be marketed as haute couture in France unless it measures up to certain standards. Couture fashions produced in other regions are more apt to be judged based on from which design house it is made rather than French (legal) standards.
Example of men's couture:
Example of women's couture: