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Item# 05-011234 

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  • Publisher: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Pages: 224
  • Illustrations: 180 (158 in full color)
  • Binding: Clothbound, with jacket
  • Dimensions: 12'' x 14 1/2''
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Authors:
  • ISBN: 9780300120295



By Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton, with an introduction by Nancy J. Troy and contributions by Mary E. Davis, Caroline Evans, Jared Goss, Heather Hess, Caroline Rennolds Milbank, and Kenneth E. Silver

Paul Poiret (French, 18791944) dominated haute couture in the first decade of the twentieth century. Known in America as the "King of Fashion," he liberated women from constricting undergarments, most significantly from the corset, which had shaped the female form almost without interruption for hundreds of years. In so doing, Poiret revolutionized dressmaking by shifting its emphasis away from the skills of tailoring to those based on draping. He advocated dresses that hung from the shoulders, pioneering such styles as the chemise, which he introduced as early as 1911. Beyond his technical innovations, Poiret established the blueprint of the modern fashion business, founding a perfume and cosmetics company as well as a decorative arts firm, and employing the theater as his runway. Poiret's designs reflected the dominant artistic discourses of the early twentieth century, most notably Orientalism and Primitivism, and also introduced the vivid colors of the Fauvists to haute couture. The catalogue features photographs of a number of garments by Paul Poiret, as well as pochoir prints by graphic artists, who created deluxe albums of Poirets designs for his elite clients. Among the many vestments included in this volume are those created for his wife, Denise Poiret. Dark and thin, Denise was the epitome of Poiret's ideal of beauty, and the artist created some of his most daring and radical designs for her. In 2005, many of Poret's unique creations were sold at auction in Paris, and some of these most important designs were purchased by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, forming the core of its exhibition Poiret: King of Fashion. As an in- depth examination of the Museum's acquisition, this catalogue provides new insights into Poiret's artistic vision and helps to reassert his position as one of the prominent designers of the twentieth century.

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