A Biography of Paul Poiret

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Name: Paul Poiret
Born April 20, 1879— April 30, 1944
• Born in Paris to a wealthy family an attended a Catholic lycée. • After school he started an apprenticeship with an umbrella maker, which did not suit him. • In 1896, as a teenager, he began working for Jacques Doucet, a prominent Parisian couturier of the time. • In four years Poiret worked up the ranks to become head of the tailoring department for Jacques Doucet. • Poiret designed for many actresses of the time, while working on the play L'Aiglon, he snuck into a dress rehearsal and his harsh critique of the sets and costumes got him fired from the movie. But, that did not stop actresses from requesting his designs. • Joined the House of Worth in 1901 as an assistant designer, there he deigned clothes in a stark contrast to the opulent garments from Worth; his were more for the everyday woman. While he felt himself that his fellow designers looked down on him for his more simplistic designs, they were commercially very successful. • While at the House of Worth, Poiret designed his first Asian-inspired piece, which was a simple Chinese-style cloak called Confucius. It offended a Russian princess, who though it was too simple, and not grand enough for anybody but peasants to wear. After opening his House of fashion the mandarin-robe-style cloaks were best sellers. • In 1903 he opened his own couture house, in 1909 he relocated to a very large and spectacular location with a parterre garden. • In the October 1908 publication of Les Robes de Paul Poiret, it featured Poiret’s designs using the pochoir method of printing, giving the images brilliantly saturated areas of color. Poiret worked with artist Paul Iribe to achieve this. Who juxtaposed Poiret’s graphically striking clothes to stylishly arranged backgrounds. With this they helped fuse fashion and art even further. • Also, in 1908 Poiret introduced his lean, high-waisted silhouette. Featuring...
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