Poiret, Paul

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Poiret, Paul Gender: M
born on 20 April 1879 at 20:00 (= 8:00 PM )
Place Paris, France, 48n52, 2e20
Timezone LMT m2e20 (is local mean time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Geslain
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 00°21' s_mo.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 22°08 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 12°23'

Paul Poiret


French fashion designer. His contributions to twentieth-century fashion have been likened to Picasso's contributions to twentieth-century art.

Poiret was born to a cloth merchant in the poor neighborhood of Les Halles, Paris. His parents, in an effort to rid him of his natural pride, apprenticed him to an umbrella maker. There, he collected scraps of silk left over from the cutting of umbrella patterns, and fashioned clothes for a doll that one of his sisters had given him. While a teenager, Poiret took his sketches to Madeleine Chéruit, a prominent dressmaker, who purchased a dozen from him. Poiret continued to sell his drawings, eventually to major Parisian couture houses, until he was hired by Jacques Doucet in 1896. His first design, a red cloth cape, sold 400 copies. Poiret later moved to the House of Worth, where he was responsible for designing simple, practical dresses. The "brazen modernity of his designs," however, proved too much for Worth's conservative clientele.

Poiret established his own house in 1903, and made his name with the controversial kimono coat. He designed flamboyant window displays and threw legendary parties to draw attention to his work; his instinct for marketing and branding was unmatched by any previous designer. In 1909, he was so famous that H. H. Asquith invited him to show his designs at 10 Downing Street. The cheapest garment at the exhibition was 30 guineas, double the annual salary of a scullery maid.

Poiret's house expanded to encompass furniture, decor, and fragrance in addition to clothing. In 1911, he introduced “Parfums de Rosine,” named after his daughter, becoming the first couturier to launch a signature fragrance linked to a design house. On 24 June 1911 Poiret unveiled “Parfums de Rosine" in a flamboyant manner. A grand soiree was held at his palatial home, a costume ball attended by the cream of Parisian society and the artistic world. Poiret fancifully christened the event “la mille et deuxième nuit,” the thousand and second night, inspired by the fantasy of sultans’ harems. Gardens were illuminated by lanterns, set with tents, and live tropical birds. Madame Poiret herself lounged in a golden cage luxuriating in opulence. Poiret was the reigning sultan, gifting each guest with a bottle of his new fragrance creation, appropriately named to befit the occasion, “Nuit Persane.” His marketing strategy played out as entertainment became a sensation and the talk of Paris. A second scent debuted in 1912, “Le Minaret,” again emphasizing the harem theme.

Poiret launched the École Martine, named for his second daughter, to provide artistically inclined, working-class girls with trade skills and income.

During World War I, Poiret left his fashion house to serve the military by streamlining uniform production. When Poiret returned after being discharged in 1919, the house was on the brink of bankruptcy. New designers like Chanel were producing simple, sleek clothes that relied on excellent workmanship. In comparison, Poiret's elaborate designs seemed dowdy and poorly manufactured. Poiret was suddenly out of fashion, in debt, and lacking support from his business partners, and he soon left his fashion house. In 1929, the house itself was closed, and its leftover clothes were sold by the kilogram as rags. When Poiret died in 1944, his genius had been forgotten. His road to poverty led him in odd jobs as a street painter trying to sell drawings to the customers of Paris' cafes. At one time it was even discussed in the 'Chambre syndicale de la Haute Couture' to provide a monthly allowance to help him, an idea rejected by the Worths (at that time at holding the presidency of that body). Only the help of his friend Elsa Schiaparelli prevented his name from encountering complete oblivion, and it was Schiaparelli that paid for Poiret's burial.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Bernhard, Lucian (born 15 March 1883). Notes: Contempora Studio


Source Notes

from Didier Geslain archive


  • Vocation : Beauty : Designer/ Fashion