Gown by Poiret

A printed silk gown ca. 1912 attributed to French designer Paul Poiret (1879-1944).

Measurements: Bust approx 92cm (36 in), Waist 72 cm (28 in).

The current estimated value of this dress is between 9,200 CAD to 12,300 CAD.

The pencil sketch depicts a similar Poiret model, ca 1912.

Paul Poiret was born in Paris in 1879. He worked for Jacques Doucet from 1896 then moved to the House of Worth in 1900. In 1904 he established his own house with the help of Doucet and the patronage of the actress Gabrielle Réjane.

Poiret is widely credited with releasing women from the corseted, hourglass-shaped designs of the period, creating elegant, gently fitted dresses with fewer underclothes. He was influenced by the Ballets Russes, incorporating turbans and harem pants into his collections.

In 1908 and 1909 he commissioned Paul Iribe and Georges Lepage to illustrate his clothes in brochures. Poiret’s 1911 design for a hobble skirt, drawn in at the ankles, caused a huge furor and brought him a certain notoriety.

His house closed during World War I and, though it reopened after the war and made some effort to attract a younger clientele, Poiret found himself in the late 1920s facing financial ruin. Poiret’s fashion house finally closed its doors in 1929.

Source of gown photos, sketch, and garment information: Kerry Taylor Auctions.

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