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PAUL POIRET (1879-1944)

Paul Poiret, fashion designer and impresario-at-large, was very instrumental in the inception of art deco phenomena. Exactly one hundred years ago, he began to produce women’s fashions unequivocally at odds with the nineteenth century obsession with screening off female bodies with forests of textiles, from which the individual would peek out at the world like an immobilized, sacred figure within a cordon sanitaire.

In marked contradistinction to that antiseptic strategy, the designs of Poiret were developed to accentuate the sensual dynamics of a woman’s body making pleasurable progress through space.

Le Lys Rouge (1914) features a sort of two-stage rocket that includes a hover device. It’s kinetic initiatives are clearly embraced by the graphic designer and pochoir artist, Simon Puget, and in this partnership we have a glimpse of a wide range of kinships featuring Poiret and artists who would spearhead the advent of art deco.

In 1911, the illustrator, Georges Lepape, was commissioned to produce a suite of pochoirs, and that publication, titled, Les Choses de Paul Poiret, arguably launched the art deco movement. Closely following that event (in 1912, to be exact) publisher, Lucien Vogel, launched his fashion/ arts journal, Gazette du Bon Ton, the first pochoir plate (Gilles) of the first volume of which featured a design by Poiret as rendered by Lepape in the same vein as Les Choses.

The following pochoir plates display the use of accessories, textures and colors to amplify the dynamic priorities of the very consequential designs of Poiret.

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