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Paul Poiret overcoats

Paul Poiret: the first dress on the left is entirely embroidered with white glass tubules, flowers and shades of grey; right: cream-coloured velvet coat embroidered with grey glass tubule rosettes.
Donated by Baroness de Banfield

Dress photos

Paul Poiret

Poiret was born on 20 April 1879 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 Louise Chéruit, a prominent dressmaker, who purchased a dozen from him. Poiret continued to sell ...