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P AUL P OIRET T HE K ING OF F ASHION “In Paris, he was simply Le Magnifique, a suitable soubriquet for a couturier who employed the language of orientalism.

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Presentation on theme: "P AUL P OIRET T HE K ING OF F ASHION “In Paris, he was simply Le Magnifique, a suitable soubriquet for a couturier who employed the language of orientalism."— Presentation transcript:

1 P AUL P OIRET T HE K ING OF F ASHION “In Paris, he was simply Le Magnifique, a suitable soubriquet for a couturier who employed the language of orientalism to develop the romantic and theatrical possibilities of clothing.” A DELEINE E LEMENTARY F RENCH I

2 E ARLY L IFE  Born April 20, 1879 in Les Halles, Paris, France.  As a prideful child, his parents sent him to apprentice with an umbrella maker. By fashioning scraps of cloth on dolls, his start in fashion had begun.  Poiret never received an education, nor did he learn how to sew.

3 B EGINNINGS  In 1898, the couturière Madeleine Chéruit bought twelve of Poiret’s fashion drawings.  In the same year, he began working for the prominent couturier, Jacques Doucet.  While working for Doucet, Poiret would design an outfit for the actress Gabrielle Réjane in the played called Zaza. Thus, the stage would become his “runway,” and theatrics would be a typical strategy of Poiret’s marketing practices.  In 1901, Poiret joined the House of Worth, working under Gaston Worth. Here he was asked to create “fried potatoes” – simple, practical garments – that were “side dishes” to Worth’s “truffles” – opulent evening gowns for aristocratic clients.

4 J ACQUES D OUCET G ABRIELLE R ÉJANE C HARLES F REDERICK W ORTH

5 “W HAT HORROR ; WITH US, WHEN THERE ARE LOW FELLOWS WHO RUN AFTER OUR SLEDGES AND ANNOY US, WE HAVE THEIR HEADS CUT OFF, AND WE PUT THEM IN SACKS JUST LIKE THAT.” P RINCESS B ARIATINSKY, O NE OF W ORTH ’ S R OYAL C LIENTS, U PON S EEING O NE OF P OIRET ’ S “F RIED P OTATO ” D ESIGNS I NSPIRED BY THE J APANESE K IMONO

6 N EWFOUND F AME  After Princess Bariatinsky’s reaction to his designs, Poiret was inspired to found his own maison de couture in  In 1905, Poiret established a perfume and cosmetics company named after his eldest daughter, Rosine.  He also established a decorative arts company named after his second daughter, Martine.

7 D ENISE P OIRET “M Y WIFE IS THE INSPIRATION FOR ALL MY CREATIONS ; SHE IS THE EXPRESSION OF ALL MY IDEALS.”  In 1905, Poiret married Denise Boulet. They would have five children together.  Denise, who was slender and youthful, would serve as both a mannequin and a muse to Poiret. She would be the prototype of la garçonne, or better known as the flapper of the 1920’s.  Eventually, the two would be divorced.

8 D ESIGN A ESTHETIC “P OIRET ONCE RUEFULLY ADMITTED THAT HE COULD NOT SEW AND WAS THUS UNABLE TO FULLY CONTROL ALL ASPECTS OF HIS ART. H OWEVER, IT WAS THIS VERY ABSENCE OF TRAINING IN TAILORING AND DRESSMAKING THAT FACILITATED THE COUTURIER ' S AUDACIOUS TECHNICAL ADVANCES.”  Once Poiret learned his craft from Doucet and Worth, he would break the established conventions of dressmaking.  Poiret liberated the body from the restricting petticoat in 1903, and then from the corset in  Poiret focused less on the skills of tailoring and more on the innovative technique of draping.

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10 D ESIGN A ESTHETIC  As inspiration, Poiret looked to both antique and regional dress types, such as Grecian chitons, Japanese kimonos, and North African and Middle Eastern caftans.  Poiret advocated fashions cut along straight lines and constructed of rectangles, in comparison to the precision of pattern-making in the fashion industry before him.  Poiret’s use of draping was the introduction to modern fashion design.  His presentation of his designs through art appeared in Paul Iribe’s Les robes de Paul Poiret in 1908 and George Lepape’s Les choses de Paul Poiret in 1911, reflecting his connection to both art and fashion as well as his expertise in fashion marketing.

11 “A M I A FOOL WHEN I DREAM OF PUTTING ART INTO MY DRESSES, A FOOL WHEN I SAY DRESSMAKING IS AN ART ? F OR I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED PAINTERS, AND FELT ON AN EQUAL FOOTING WITH THEM. I T SEEMS TO ME THAT WE PRACTICE THE SAME CRAFT …”

12 O RIENTALISM  Inspired by the Ballets Russes successful production of Schéhérazade in 1910, Poiret would be spurred to create orientalist designs.  These designs included “harem” pantaloons, “lampshade” tunics, and hobble skirts.  Poiret would be known to throw lavish parties to market his clothing.  In 1911, he would throw a lavish dress party called, “The Thousand and Second Night.”

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14 F ALL FROM G RACE  During World War I, Poiret would serve as a military tailor.  Although orientalism continued to influence Poiret’s creativity and innovativeness, modern, functional clothing would replace his luxurious and sensual designs.  Because Poiret could not reconcile his ornamental design aesthetic with modernism, his popularity diminished in the 1920’s.  In 1929, Poiret closed his business.  Poiret would be known to encourage Elsa Schiaparelli to open her own design business in the 1920’s, who shared a similar design aesthetic as him.  He died April 30, 1944 in Paris.

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16 I MPACT ON F ASHION “I T IS IRONIC THAT P OIRET REJECTED MODERNISM, GIVEN THAT HIS TECHNICAL AND COMMERCIAL INNOVATIONS WERE FUNDAMENTAL TO ITS EMERGENCE AND DEVELOPMENT. B UT ALTHOUGH P OIRET ' S ORIENTALISM WAS AT ODDS WITH MODERNISM, BOTH IDEOLOGICALLY AND AESTHETICALLY, IT SERVED AS THE PRINCIPAL EXPRESSION OF HIS MODERNITY, ENABLING HIM TO RADICALLY TRANSFORM THE COUTURE TRADITIONS OF THE B ELLE É POQUE. W HILE P OIRET MAY HAVE BEEN FASHION ' S LAST GREAT ORIENTALIST, HE WAS ALSO ITS FIRST GREAT MODERNIST.”

17 B IBLIOGRAPHY “Fashioning the Century.” Vogue, May Koda, Harold, and Andrew Bolton. Poiret. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, Print. Steele, Valerie. Paris Fashion: A Cultural History. Oxford: Berg, Print. years/bazaar oir.htm /11poir.html?pagewanted=all


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