Paul Iribe (1883–1935) was a French designer and illustrator. He was born Paul Iribarnegaray in Angouleme, France. Iribe was known for his contributions to the Art Deco movement, particularly in fashion and advertising design. This era was before the photographer and camera dominated. Paul Iribe managed to capture the spirit of the new fashion trends and individually portray them, reflecting the mood and the hope of the times.
Iribe was educated in Paris, where, in his early twenties, he became an apprentice printer at Le Temps newspaper.
Iribe started sending drawings to French satirical papers like Rire, Sourire, and L’Assiette au beurre in 1900. In the first half of the century, fashion promotion depended upon the publication of special magazines of sketches and drawings by well-known artists. Iribe would depict models wearing art nouveau or art deco garments that were engraved and drawn against matching decorated backgrounds.
In 1908, Paul Poiret, who wanted an artist to show off his clothes, asked him to create a promotional brochure. This made him a well-known fashion illustrator. The resulting Les Robes de Paul Poiret was widely influential in fashion and illustration. Iribe’s illustrations were clean, crisp, and balanced. He kept background objects to a minimum and concentrated on the stylish outline and witty detail of the garments.
At first finely carved, then more simply constructed, his furniture was veneered with amaranth, ebony, Brazilian rosewood and coloured shagreen with inlays in a contrasting colours. After selling his outstanding collection of 18th-century furniture, couturier Jacques Doucet commissioned Iribe to furnish his entire apartment at 46 Avenue du Bois (today, Avenue Foch), Paris. For the Doucet assignment, Iribe hired Pierre Legrain as an assistant. Iribe’s modernism always tended to the baroque; he inclined towards a 19th-century sense of luxury, with chairs that virtually engulfed the sitter.
A contributor to Vogue and Femina, Iribe also designed advertisements for Paquin and the House of Callot, perfume bottles, fabrics for Bianchi-Ferier, and furniture and interiors.
In 1914, Iribe travelled to Hollywood and worked as a theatrical designer for various film producers, including Cecil B. De Mille. Iribe spent six years in Hollywood working on his costumes and theatrical interiors for Paramount. The lush sets for De Mille’s 1921 film The Affairs of Anatol and the 1934 film Cleopatra were among Iribe’s better-known accomplishments. With architects Umbdenstock and Hourtieg, he wrote a manifesto against modern art; as a ‘traditionalist, he was opposed to the UAM (Union des Artistes Modernes).
Returning to Paris in 1928, he divided his time between contributing satirical illustrations to the weekly political paper Le Témoin and designing jewellery for Chanel. He designed the Lanvin emblem, representing Jeanne Lanvin dressed for a ball with her daughter Marie-Blanche at her knee, and costume jewellery for Coco Chanel, who became a close friend and, in 1935, founded the magazine Le Mot.
Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL