Paul Poiret

Topics: 20th century, Haute couture, Fashion design Pages: 3 (1081 words) Published: July 5, 2006
The early 20th century in France was a cultural moment which artists and aesthetic sensibilities influenced each other, especially in costume. The French couturier, Paul Poiret (1879-1944), born in Paris to a cloth merchant had the good fortune of being immersed in the traditions of the French couture. As a young boy, Poiret was fascinated with color, design, and fabric. He experimented with scraps of fabric on a wooden mannequin during the first job for an umbrella maker. His first break came when the French designer, Madeleine Chéruit, accepted some of his sketches. Following apprenticeships with Parisian designers, Jacques Doucet and later with Charles Frederick Worth, Poiret established his own Parisian couture house in 1903. Other businesses and artistic interests included designing theatre and film costumes, and establishing a design school, Martine, for the decorative arts. The Martine design school encouraged students to create designs for furnishing fabrics and wallpaper as well as designs for the printed silks and taffetas of Poiret dresses. His signature was the rose, designed by the French artist Paul Iribe, and appeared on a number of his garments on labels and elsewhere. However, Poiret's most notable designs included "oriental" motifs. Vividly, colored exotic textiles for costumes by Leon Bakst for the Ballet Russes (which just appeared in Paris in 1909) influenced many of Poiret dress designs. Turbans, harem pants, the pantaloon gown, and kimonos shape, in rich, exotic prints were among his most popular designs. Another design, the hobble skirt, featured freedom at the waist, but confined the ankles. The lampshade, yet another design, was made by wiring a tunic which stood out all around the body and became one of his most famous shapes. Poiret engaged the textile artist, Raoul Dufy to design fabrics for dresses and shawls. Other exotic designs featured Arabian fantasies, creating a sensation in his collections and later in costume...
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