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Poiret: King of Fashion

May 9–August 5, 2007

Poiret, Paul Iribe, and Georges Lepape

Poiret was proud of having introduced Paul Iribe to a wider audience through Les robes de Paul Poiret (1908). Distributed without charge to Poiret's elite clientele, the album, like Georges Lepape's Les choses de Paul Poiret published three years later, was exhibited at the Galerie Barbazanges, a commercial gallery on the premises of Poiret's couture house. It was Iribe who designed Poiret's rose motif, as depicted on "La Rose d'Iribe" dress and on the couturier's label.

In his memoirs, however, Poiret dismisses the implication that Iribe and Lepape were anything more than interpreters of his fully formed expressions. In his description of his collaboration with the two artists, they emerge as disseminators of his designs, representing his works through their talents as illustrators—never as creators of the designs themselves. The reality, however, was probably much more complicated.

The charming renderings by Iribe in Les robes de Paul Poiret and by Lepape in Les choses de Paul Poiret (and later in the Gazette du bon ton) convey a contextual reality for Poiret's exquisite creations. Comparing extant costumes to their representation, however, reveals that accuracy was sometimes sacrificed for dramatic intention. Nevertheless, Iribe's and Lepape's subtle stylistic elisions and exaggerations imbued Poiret's fashions with a seductive beauty not conveyed by the harsher documentary evidence of photography.

1-9 of 12 results

  • Coat
    Coat

    Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

    Date: ca. 1919
    Accession Number: C.I.61.40.4

  • Fancy dress costume
    Fancy dress costume

    Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

    Date: 1911
    Accession Number: 1983.8a, b

  • Afternoon dress
    Afternoon dress

    Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

    Date: ca. 1923
    Accession Number: C.I.43.85.2a, b

  • Dress
    Dress

    Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

    Date: 1925
    Accession Number: C.I.50.117

  • "Le Bal"

    Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

    Date: 1924
    Accession Number: 2005.192a, b

  • "Théâtre des Champs-Élysées"

    Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

    Date: 1913
    Accession Number: 2005.193a–g

  • Tunic
    Tunic

    Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

    Date: ca. 1920
    Accession Number: 2005.195

  • "Bois de Boulogne"

    Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

    Date: 1919
    Accession Number: 2005.197a–c

  • "La Perse"

    Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

    Date: 1911
    Accession Number: 2005.199