Paul Poiret (1879 – 1944) – King of Fashion

UNSPECIFIED – 1922: Paul Poiret (1879-1944), French fashion designer and decorator, 1922. (Photo by Roger Viollet via Getty Images/Roger Viollet via Getty Images)

In the early decades of the 20th century, Paul Poiret was a crucial figure in the French fashion industry, notably by adding a deep oriental flavour and rich colours to contemporary clothing. This was influenced by the dramatic settings and costumes by Leon Bakst and others that first took Paris by storm in 1908 for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Fashion illustrators widely disseminated the work of Poiret through publications such as Paul Iribe’s Les Robes de Paul Poiret raconté (1908) and Georges Lepape’s Les Choses de Paul Poiret vues (1911).

Founded Atelier Martine

Poiret had moved into dress design after meeting leading couturier and collector Jacques Doucet in 1896, working for Worth until independently starting up in 1904. He founded the Atelier Martine in Paris in 1911, after meeting Josef Hoffmann in Vienna in 1910 and seeing the multidisciplinary outlook and activities of the Wiener Werkstätte first-hand. This decorative art school was named after his second daughter. Working-class girls with no formal training attended it. They created bright, vibrant designs for textiles, wallpapers, ceramics, murals, and furniture that were perhaps partly influenced by Wiener Werkstätte’s flower-patterned textiles that drew on folk art themselves.

Reputation established

Poiret arranged for the work of the Martines to be shown at the Salon d’Automne in 1912 (as the participants in the Atelier were known), leading him to create an interior design company under the name of L’Atelier Martine. He provided advice for the interior decoration of cafés, hotels, offices, and private homes. The venture proved to be so successful that a branch in London was opened in 1924. The Atelier Martine also created designs for the Île de France (1927), a prestigious luxury liner that several leading French designers collaborated on.

A Paul Poiret creation a skirt of black and white ostrich feathers.A Paul Poiret creation a skirt of black and white ostrich feathers. 05 Oct 1922, Thu Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo, New York) Newspapers.com

Poiret showed three barges moored on the Seine near the entrance entitled Amours, Délices, and Orgues at the Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels of 1925, including hangings by Raoul Dufy and room arrangements, chairs, and Atelier Martine furnishings. Nevertheless, Poiret’s fashion company went into decline due to the harsh economic times of the late 1920s.

Lasting Influence

His style, innovations, and influence on fashion:

  • The first couturier to advocate the elimination of the corseted female body.
  • Conceived new fashion shapes such as the kimono-sleeved coat in 1906, hobble skirts in 1910, harem pants in 1911, and the lampshade tunic in 1913.
  • Influenced by the Orientalist designs of Leon Bakst for the Russian Ballets Ruse, Poiret introduced a new dramatic palette and combination of colours.
  • He chose to name his clothes instead of the customary practise of using numbers to arrange a collection. An example: is his “Sorbet” costume, a wire-hooped “lampshade” tunic atop harem pants in chiffon and gold fringe.
  • He was the first couturier to release fragrances; however, his were released by a company he created in his daughter Rosine’s name.
  • Artist Paul Iribe illustrated and released Les Robes de Paul Poiret racontees par Paul Iribe. This publication and other illustrations by Erte, Louis Barbier, and Georges Lepape served as early forms of visual marketing for Poiret’s designs.

Sources

Woodham, J. (2004). Poiret, Paul. In A Dictionary of Modern Design. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 10 Feb. 2021

Advertisements

Fashion Books & Design History – Amazon

More French Designers

  • Louis Rault (1847 – 1903) French sculptor, engraver and jewellery designer

    Louis Rault (1847 – 1903) French sculptor, engraver and jewellery designer

    Louis Rault (1847 – 1903) was a French Sculptor, engraver, silversmith and jewellery designer.Between 1868 and 1875, Rault worked in the Boucheron workshop on the Place Vendôme in Paris. At the end of the nineteenth century, he set up a workshop where he produced silver and jewellery in the Art Nouveau style.Read More →

  • Boris-Jean Lacroix (1902-1984) 🇫🇷 French Lighting Designer

    Boris-Jean Lacroix (1902-1984) 🇫🇷 French Lighting Designer

    Boris-Jean Lacroix (1902-1984) was a French Lighting Designer born in Paris. Biography Lacroix was aRead More →

  • Paul Poiret (1879 – 1944) – King of Fashion

    Paul Poiret (1879 – 1944) – King of Fashion

    In the early decades of the 20th century, Paul Poiret was a crucial figure in the French fashion industry, notably by adding a deep oriental flavour and rich colours to contemporary clothing. Read More →

  • Martine Bedin (b.1957) radical architecture and design

    Martine Bedin (b.1957) radical architecture and design

    Bedin was one of the founders of the avant-garde Memphis group in Milan in 1981. Also, she has worked as an architect, industrial designer and professor. Her work is held in many important museums and private collections. Bedin’s aesthetic is typically colourful and self-consciously kitschy.Read More →

  • Jan and Joel Martel (1896 – 1966) twin brothers and French sculptors

    Jan and Joel Martel (1896 – 1966) twin brothers and French sculptors

    Jan and Joel Martel (1896 – 1966) were twin brothers and French sculptors. They were born in Nantes and active in Paris. Cement, glass, steel, mirrors, ceramics, lacquers, and synthetics were all used in their projects.Read More →

  • Jean Patou (1880 – 1936) 🎩 Fashion Designer

    Jean Patou (1880 – 1936) 🎩 Fashion Designer

    One of Patou’s most famous customers was the French tennis champion Suzanne Lenglen, whom he dressed both on and off the court. This lean and active young woman epitomised the 1920s “new woman.” She created a furore in 1921 when she wore Patou’s knee-length pleated skirt, which revealed much of her legs when she ran. The headband she wore while playing tennis was widely copied by women throughout the 1920s for day and evening wear.Read More →

  • Andre Salomon (1891 -1970) French Lighting Engineer

    Andre Salomon (1891 -1970) French Lighting Engineer

    He was an engineer at Tompson before setting up the small electrical firm Perfécla (Perfectionnement de I’Ecla), regularly working with architects and designers, including Pierre Chareau, and André Lurcat, René Herbst, and architect Robert Mallet-Stevens. For the latter, he produced the widely published 1929 lighting fixture designed by Francis Jourdain in the form of a suspended concave metal ring projecting rays onto the ceiling and reflecting a soft indirect light elsewhere. Read More →

  • Pierre-Émile Legrain (1889 -1929) French Furniture Designer

    Pierre-Émile Legrain (1889 -1929) French Furniture Designer

    He submitted cartoons in 1908 for Paul Iribe’s satirical reviews Le Témoin, L’Assiette au beurre, Le Mot, and La Baionnette. Iribe invited Legrain to collaborate with him on projects including furniture and interior design, jewelry for Robert Linzeler, and dress designs for Paquin.Read More →

  • Maison Gripoix costume jeweller – glass with class

    Maison Gripoix costume jeweller – glass with class

    Maison Gripoix, a French costume jeweller, was located in Paris. Around 1890, Maison Gripoix sold glass beads and buttons wholesale. Subsequently, specialised in handmade imitations of precious and semi-precious jewels, including parures for Sarah Bernhardt.Read More →

  • Fernand Nathan French furniture desiger

    Fernand Nathan French furniture desiger

    A painter before becoming active as an interior architect, he was a cabinetmaker and designer of lighting, printed fabrics, and furniture. His furniture reflected the influences of Chippendale, Louis XVI, Directoire, Restauration, and Louis Philippe styles. Some of Nathan’s furniture was produced by Beyne.Read More →

  • Pierre Paulin (1927 – 2009) French furniture designer

    Pierre Paulin (1927 – 2009) French furniture designer

    He was active in research for the government-sponsored Mobilier International. His first plastic object was the 1953 Chair 157 in polyester, ABS, and elastomers produced by Artifort of Maastricht. Around 1955, he was one of the first to work in elasticised fabrics for Thonet and subsequently for Artifort.Read More →

  • Raymond Loewy (1893 – 1986) 🇺🇸  American Designer

    Raymond Loewy (1893 – 1986) 🇺🇸 American Designer

    He arrived in the United States in 1929, just in time for the great depression. As it happened the beginning of the depression was a fortuitous time for a talented designer with new ideas to arrive in the United States. The old design aesthetic was disappearing with the collapsing economy. Manufacturers wanted to stimulate demand for their products by offering customers new designs, and Loewy had an abundance of them with the ego to match. His mother had always told him, “It is better to be envied than pitied.”Read More →

  • Andre Hermant (1908 – 1978) French architect and furniture designer

    Andre Hermant (1908 – 1978) French architect and furniture designer

    In 1936, he became a member of UAM (Union des Artistes Modernes); after World War II, he participated in the reconstruction of the port of Le Havre under the direction of architect Auguste Perret.Read More →

  • Suzanne Guiguichon French Furniture Designer

    Suzanne Guiguichon French Furniture Designer

    Suzanne Guiguichon was a French furniture designer and decorator. She was born and worked in Paris. Since 1929 she worked as a designer with Maurice Dufrene at the Galeries Lafayette design studio La Maitrise in Paris. Most of the furniture, clocks, lighting, fabrics, rugs, accessories Guiguichon designed anonymously.Read More →

  • Société des Artistes Décorateurs (Society of Decorative Artists) – France

    Société des Artistes Décorateurs (Society of Decorative Artists) – France

    The creation in 1901 of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs (SAD) reflected the increasing significance in France of this new profession of Decorative Arts. This resulted from a series of government-funded projects carried out in the fine and applied arts schools of France to improve the status of applied arts and training. Read More →

  • Jean-Paul Gaultier (b.1952) French Fashion Designer

    Jean-Paul Gaultier (b.1952) French Fashion Designer

    Before launching his label in 1976, Gaultier worked for Cardin, Jacques Esteirel, and Patou. From the onset, Gaultier was dubbed the ‘enfant terrible de Paris’.Read More →

  • Eileen Gray (1879 – 1976) Irish/French Furniture Designer

    Eileen Gray (1879 – 1976) Irish/French Furniture Designer

    Eileen Gray was an French furniture designer and architect. Her work reflected a stylistic pastiche of far eastern and french influences.Read More →

  • René Lalique (1860 – 1945) French goldsmith and glassmaker

    René Lalique (1860 – 1945) French goldsmith and glassmaker

    Artisan in glass and creator of family firm Cristal Lalique René Lalique was a FrenchRead More →

  • George Barbier one of the Great French Illustrators

    George Barbier one of the Great French Illustrators

    George Barbier was one of the Great French Illustrators of the early 20th centuryRead More →

  • Léon Jallot (1874 – 1967) French designer and artisan.

    Léon Jallot (1874 – 1967) French designer and artisan.

    Léon Jallot (1874­1967), a scion of the French Art Nouveau, stood out within the movement as an ébéniste, or cabinet maker.Read More →

You may also be interested in

Émile Bernaux ( 1883 – 1970 ) French sculptor and furniture designer – Encyclopedia of Design

Émile Bernaux was a French sculptor and furniture designer. He was born in Paris in 1883. GRANDFATHER CLOCK, CIRCA 1910 Carved wood with bronze handles Bearing the artist’s monogram on the upper door and signed in full on the side 222 cm. high 53 cm. wide 32 cm.

Odilon Redon’s Classic paintings Capture Logic of Invisible – Encyclopedia of Design

Odilon Redon, the artist who at the age 73 outsold all but Marcel Duchamp at the 1913 Armory Show of “Modern French Art ” in New York City. Redon, who died three years later, also exhibited more works than any other artist at that famous show, including Matisse, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Picasso, Monet and Renoir.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.