Poiret – Modernity as he would have wished. RTW SS19
Poiret : Ready to Wear Spring-summer 19 collection
Firstly I must express a personal interest in the revival of the Maison Poiret; it was my college thesis many moons ago and I am a huge fan of his work across many years.
by Tony Glenville
Last season I sat down nervously to watch what Yiqing Yin, whose work I love, would make of this long forgotten couturiers revival. He vanished in the nineteen twenties and died in 1944, so it’s not as though his work is familiar through continuity.In the first season I loved how Yiqing Yin paid such subtle reference to the work of Poiret and this season she continued to do so.
Truth to tell the huge Dufy print opera coats, thousand and one nights harem tunics and glittering turbans hardly resonate in the twenty first century.
What he was was also a modernist, creating tiny tunics for his wife Denise, constructing dresses from a single length of fabric, wrapping and cutting pieces based on simple ethnic shapes.
All this and more was zero be seen this season but in the subtlest of manners. Colours echoed the Ecole Martine, the textile school Poiret founded.
The fluid shapes looked to those Isadora Duncan style tunics, and the hints of bubble and curved silhouettes had an orientalist shadow without ever falling into the trap of pastiche or fancy dress.
If Poiret was designing today he would be a modernist, not a traditionalist and that is clearly the attitude of the designer and the house.
I loved the feel and lightness and softness of the collection, it reminded me for some reason of Margot Fonteyn in Frederick Ashton’s ballet Ondine, whose costumes were originally by Lila de Nobili.
This delicacy and lightness of construction moved like waves and with a dancers grace, the whole collection had the echoes of the sea and the emerging from the waves of the nymph Ondine, a magical creature.
So from layers to parkas, in semi sheer fabrics, from palest ecru to sunset painterly hues in fiery golds and oranges, some deep azure blues especially for soft oriental silhouettes, twists and drapes spiralled around the body caressing it but never vulgarly right, and even the softest of trench coats thrown over layers, the collection was consistent in its vision.
Just look at the slender ribbed, draped top in azure blue worn with a huge flowing skirt in marigold and see how beautiful it is, how it has a whisper of exoticism but is totally created with tomorrow in mind; Poiret simplicity.
Now there’s a surprise.