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Paul Poiret Bucked, Pioneered Fashion Trends

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Paul Poiret Bucked, Pioneered Fashion Trends

Arts & Life

Paul Poiret Bucked, Pioneered Fashion Trends

Paul Poiret Bucked, Pioneered Fashion Trends

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/12104454/12104463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Image of Poiret Dress i

This chemise dress made of blue silk damask was worn by Denise Poiret in 1912. Anna Marie Kellen hide caption

toggle caption Anna Marie Kellen
Image of Poiret Dress

This chemise dress made of blue silk damask was worn by Denise Poiret in 1912.

Anna Marie Kellen
Image of Poiret Dress Coat i

Poiret's black silk and wool coat, made around 1919, has white kid cutwork applique and broadtail trim. The Metropolitan Museum of Art hide caption

toggle caption The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Image of Poiret Dress Coat

Poiret's black silk and wool coat, made around 1919, has white kid cutwork applique and broadtail trim.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Image of Beaded Dress i

This seafoam green dress, from 1911, is made of silk gauze, silver lame, blue foil and intricate beadwork, among other materials. The Metropolitan Museum of Art hide caption

toggle caption The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Image of Beaded Dress

This seafoam green dress, from 1911, is made of silk gauze, silver lame, blue foil and intricate beadwork, among other materials.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Paul Poiret couldn't sew, but he called himself the "King of Fashion."

Poiret, who died in 1944, is largely credited for freeing women from corsets and introducing them to pantaloons.

For the first time in more than 30 years, a major exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates Poiret's life and work.

The exhibit, which runs through August 5th, features 50 ensembles that highlight the facets of his career — including the his draped, unstructured clothes and his fascination with the Ballets Russes and the Wiener Werkstatte.

Born to a family of drapers, Poiret preferred draping fabric on the body to make dresses, rather than tailoring — a technique that is still used today at modern fashion houses. He wasn't afraid to break out of fashion's molds, and he used his wife, Denise, as his primary model and muse. The heart of the Met's exhibition features a group of creations Poiret made for Denise, many of which have never been photographed or put on public display.

Poiret's vision also extended outside of fashion to art, theater, architecture and interior design. He collaborated with top designers of the day and created a series of workshops for the production of fabrics, furniture and decorative objects.

Jacki Lyden spoke with curator Andrew Bolton about Poiret's life and eclectic designs.

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