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History of Curtains

From the days of antiquity, curtains have been used both functionally and for aesthetic values.  Excavation sites at Olynthus, Pompeii, and Herculaneum show that portieres—a hanging curtain over a door or room entrance— appear to have been used as room dividers in classic antiquity. This is backed up by mosaics from the 2nd to 6th centuries, which show curtains suspended from rods spanning archways throughout Europe, where they were used on walls to keep out draft or act as a room divider. Today, curtains are typically used over windows or door openings; but there are no reasons not to have curtains hanging from our walls as a piece of art.

History of Curtains

The word portiere is derived from the French word for door, porte, itself derived from the Latin word porta, with the same meaning of gate. In the fashion industry, prêt-à-porter means ‘ready to wear’.  Commonly used for off-the-rack clothing, this old French term marks the point where buying clothes transitioned from traditional, individually tailored fashion to the premade fashion culture today. Put these two concepts together, and you have Pret-a-Portiere!

In Australia, most curtains are pre-made and ‘ready to hang’. As such, they seldom fit properly, often dimming a room’s ambience rather than adding to it. Worse, they may look good but are simply not functional. We have all had the problem of purchasing curtains from the store… only to come home and find they look awful in place.  Too long, too short, too narrow, too wide, the list goes on. At worst, they’re too effective or not effective enough—and you’re left searching in the darkness or blinded by the sun.

The biggest defining factor between ready-made and custom drapes revolve around the quality of fabric. It’s hard to find ready-made natural fibres with handmade pleats and with well-structured hems and stitching.  In short, ready-to-hang curtains simply don’t work for many rooms.  We have drapes that can be bought off the shelf, ready to hang but of a bespoke quality.

At Pret-a-Portiere, we offer ready-to-hang curtains, but our pride is in individual tailoring. Many of our curtains are made to order, so you will find a lot of flexibility when purchasing our curtains. We strive to ensure you can get the perfect fit for your windows. You can choose the length and width specific to your needs, the pleat style, borders, as well as the level (if any) of light your curtains should let through.  You choose what is best—after all, it’s your curtain. 

We strive to ensure you have the best possible drapery made to suit your needs with a craftsmanship and elegance not easily found in Australia today.  It is our pleasure to make fine draperies that you will be proud of. Pret-a-Portiere curtains are designed to bring the ‘wow’ factor to any room. 

Our bespoke curtains are the real deal: many of our customers have been so pleased with their curtains, they told their family members who have then come to us. Discover the Pret-a-Portiere difference today.


Written by Aseyah Shipman




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