Paul Poiret's Contribution to Fashion Design

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

June 22, 2007

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The early 20th century designer Paul Poiret's fashion designs are the subject of a current exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. The show plans to introduce Poiret to the public and reacquaint the fashion design world with his works, which still look contemporary nearly a century after their creation.

Poiret's Career in Fashion
Born in 1879, Poiret was a French designer. Known as the father of modern fashion, Poiret enjoyed a career in fashion resulting in a move away from restrictive women's fashions--like the corset--and toward more flowing, free silhouettes. His work was fresh and completely original.

In this exhibit, Poiret comes across as a true fashion visionary. How many designers today create clothes that could still look modern 100 years from now? Poiret's choice of color, line, and texture still looks chic and modern.

Fashion School and Poiret
Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of Poiret. You may well hear about his work and his career in fashion during your fashion school courses. Fashion school may also take you through the larger history of fashion, from Greco-Roman to Brooklyn-hipster trends.

During fashion school you may also learn about Poiret's less fashionable side--the poverty-stricken final years that came after his wife's departure. But his story still has a happy ending. In 2002, his granddaughter discovered trunks of his clothing, much of which is featured in the Met's show today.


About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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