Fancy dress costume

Designer: Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)

Date: 1911

Culture: French

Medium: metal, silk, cotton

Credit Line: Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Trust Gift, 1983

Accession Number: 1983.8a, b


Early in the twentieth century Diaghilev's Russian dance company, Ballets Russes, performed in Paris—reigniting the taste for orientalism in Europe with its exotic sets and costumes. As this ensemble illustrates, Poiret excelled in recontextualizing western dress with fantastical eastern influence. He was also a maverick modernist in creating a stir, taking promotion of his inventive ensembles to new levels with his infamous spectaculars. This fancy-dress ensemble was made for and worn to Poiret's 1002nd Night party in 1911, which was designed and organized to promote his new creations in the full splendor and glamour of the orientalist trend.