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Art Education

House of Poiret

House of Poiret

Paul Poiret (1879-1944) took the fashion world by storm by designing un-corseted, loose-fitting kimono like garments that followed the natural contour of a woman’s body. At the age of 24 he established his very own fashion house in Paris in 1903.

Born in poor neighborhood of Paris, his parents sent him to apprentice at an umbrella maker’s shop. As a young man Paul would begin sewing fabrics together to create fashion designs for his younger sister’s dolls. In his teens Paul would sketch and design continuously bringing his finished sketches to couture houses who would often purchase his designs. He continued to sell his sketches until he landed a full time job with Jacques Doucet, a prominent fashion designer of the time. Later Poiret would move to the House of Worth where he designed simple dresses for the fashion house.

Poiret created some of fashions most revolutionary and celebrated designs of the early 20th century, becoming known as the “Picasso” of fashion world for the way he transformed woman’s fashion. His designs, considered modern at the time, freed woman from the the corset. His ability to capture his audiences attention with lavish parties, vibrant window displays, and a unique branding and marketing strategy unparalleled by any rival.

Poiret Project

Create several rough sketches of Poiret’s designs in your sketchbook, roughly shade with pencil or color pencil to show the draping of the garments. After completing several sketches redraw your favorite 3 onto the large paper. When finished scan the rough sketches and the finished drawings and insert them into your Google portfolio.

Tutorial | Basic Garment Form

Questions to Consider

Use the various links provided to gather answers to the questions below, discuss your findings with a classmate and be prepared to share your ideas with the class.

  1. What are the distinguishing characteristics of Paul Poiret’s designs?
  2. What cultural influences do you see in his work, show examples?
  3. What are the different features of Paul Poiret’s designs?
  4. What shapes, patterns, or colors appear frequently in Poiret’s designs?
  5. How do suppose the garment is structured, how does it fit the body?
  6. How is the fit of Poiret’s clothing different from the previous design era?
  7. What is the difference between draping and tailoring? Which method did Poiret prefer?
  8. Why do you think Paul Poiret is called the King of Fashion?


Figure, the human form.
Form, a 3 dimensional object that has volume and takes up space.
Highlight, the lightest part of an object or form where light is hitting.
Haute Couture, House of high fashion.
Pattern, the repetition of lines or forms.
Shadow, the darker areas of a form or the shadow of the form.
Sketchbook, a book to practice drawing, formulate ideas and keep visual resources.
Texture, an element of design that refers to the surface, ex rough, smooth, fuzzy.
Value, an element of design that relates to the lightness and darkness of a color or tone.


View my Flipboard Magazine.

Paul Iribe Illustrations

Biography Questions to Answer

Use the link provided here to answer the following questions about Paul Poiret. On a new slide in your Google Portfolio create either a raw list of facts from the questions raised or compose sentences or a paragraph that will include the information about the designer. Title the slide, add a photo of Poiret along with few of his original dress designs in the same slide.

  1. Where was Poiret born?
  2. When was he born?
  3. What was his father’s business?
  4. What career interested Poiret while he was in boarding school?
  5. What job did he have as a young man after graduation?
  6. According to the article, what was Poirets’ ‘big break”, what did he sell?
  7. What was his first full time job, who was his boss?
  8. What was his first design at the new job, was is successful, how do you know?Answers to questions 9-12 can be found in this brief article
  9. Where and when did Poiret set up his own shop?
  10. What do you suppose are Orientalist and Neoclassical Style?
  11. What did title did his success earn him?
  12. What happened to Poirets’ popularity by the 1920’s?


Tutorial | Writing Content from Source Material



Fatta’s Feud

We surveyed 100 people top 5 answers on the board here’s the question, name 5 different jobs Paul Poiret had in order to become the “King of Fashion”.


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