Worth was born in the town of Bourne, Lincolnshire on 13 October 1825. He was a son of a local solicitor, William Worth, who appears to run into financial difficulties when Charles was just a boy. Assuming that it was now up to him to put bread on the family table, at the age of 11 Charles headed for London where he became an apprentice and later a bookkeeper at a drapery firm ÃÂ«Swan and EdgarÃÂ» in Piccadully. It was here that he developed an eye for sumptuous fabrics and showed the prodigious flair for salesmanship that was to serve him so well. To compensate for his lack of education, young Charles read current novels and visited the new National Gallery. He studied attentively the historical styles of costumes in the paintings. Certain aspects of fashion, he noticed, came round in circles and this knowledge later helped him in refreshing his own designs.
At the age of 20 he left for Paris, the birth place of fashion trends.
Worth got a job at the drapery house of "Gagelin and Opigez", a prominent firm that sold the textile goods, shawls and some ready-made garments.
For 12 years, Worth became "Gagelin's" leading salesman, and when he was not busy attending to the needs of his clients, he designed dresses for his new French bride, Marie Vernet, who also worked in this store. Soon, costumers began to notice these elegant creations, Worth was given a small department at the back of the store in which he displays his designs. The department prospered from the start because of his intimate knowledge of textiles combined with English tailoring techniques. So this was his first position as a professional dressmaker.
"Gagelin and Opigez" were unwilling...