Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Designated Purchase Fund, 1983
Not on view
Paul Poiret was the son of a textile distributor with the ambition and creativity to become a fashion designer. Brief employment for Jacques Doucet (1853-1929) and the House of Worth (1858-1956) led him to open his own dressmaking shop near the Place de l'Opèra in 1903 at the age of 24. His first two design albums, "Les Robes de Paul Poiret" drawn by Paul Iribe (1883-1935) in 1908 and "Les Choses de Paul Poiret" created by Georges Lepape (1887-1971) in 1911, not only changed the concept of fashion marketing and illustration, they prophesied the pivotal transition women made from the corseted silhouette of the Victorian age into the natural and sleek un-corseted form of the modern era. The tubular shape and folkloric trimmings he presented were continuously part of the Poiret vocabulary as well as draping, which proved ingenious in the time of tailoring and drafting.
This is one of the few ready-to-wear coats that materialized after Poiret authorized specific designs to be licensed and produced in America. This project was planned in 1917, but was never fully executed due to restrictions placed on his travel to the United States during wartime. His design aesthetic translates easily with the simple Greco-Roman drapery and sleeve details.