Friday, April 20, 2012

Arty Farty Friday ~ Paul Poiret, "King of Fashion"

Sun's on the cusp of Aries/Taurus, and here's an arty character who was born with Sun at 00 Taurus, on 20 April 1879: Paul Poiret, one of the early 1900s' first French fashion designers. Not known for modesty he crowned himself "King of Fashion", used the title for his autobiography published in 1931.

He was artistic in his youth, but though encouraged by his mother and sisters, his father took a dim view of his arty son and put him in a job as assistant to an umbrella maker. Not distracted though, Paul used left over silk remnants of umbrella fabric to make designs from his sketches, miniature dresses for a wooden doll provided by his sisters.

Paul Poiret was to become the most fashionable of Parisian designers during the period from turn of the century to outbreak of World War 1.


Poiret was particularly noted for his Neoclassical and Orientalist styles, for advocating the replacement of the corset with the brassiere, and for the introduction of the hobble skirt, a vertical, tight-bottomed style that confined women to mincing steps. “I freed the bust,” boasted Poiret, “and I shackled the legs.”

After serving as a designer in the house of Parisian fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth, Poiret opened a small shop in Paris in 1903. By 1907 he had been instrumental in reviving the Empire style, popular in France during the reign of Napoleon I. Inspired by a widespread interest in Eastern art and Russian ballet, he created flamboyant, theatrical designs. His evening gowns, turbans, and harem pants appeared in brilliant shades of purple, red, orange, green, and blue.

A publication illustrated by artists Paul Iribe, Erte, Louis Barbier, and Georges Lepape became an early visual marketing tool for Poiret’s designs.

Poiret was, it seems, the embodiment of all the traits of the stereotypical fashion designer. He loved to be front and centre of the arty action of Paris, made sure he became part of the inner circle of sought after designers, painters and illustrators of early 20th century France. He threw extravagant parties - but by the 1920s styles and tastes changed, Coco Chanel's elegant tailoring in muted colours had become the new "in thing", and Poiret faced bankruptcy. He died in 1944.

A brief video showing vintage film of Poiret, Paris and some of his designs.


Taurus is ruled by Venus, planet of the arts and of beauty - Sun in Taurus couldn't be more appropriate here, and there's a added spark: Uranus planet of all that's new and different was at 00* Virgo and in exact harmonious trine (120*) to Poiret's Taurean Sun. Little wonder that he set out to give early 20th century women something very different!

Venus at 2* Gemini (sociable and communications sign) in helpful semi-sextile to Sun and creative Neptune in Taurus is a further reflection of Poiret's creativity and natural ability to mingle in the right social circles to further his career and status.

Moon (whatever his time of birth) would have been in Aries along with Mercury and Saturn - an Aries trio of these personal planets = a go-getter, risk taker, person filled with enthusiasm for his chosen route through life.

Jupiter, planet of excess, in its traditional home sign of Pisces and in harmonious sextile (60*)to Sun and Neptune was a possible source of Poiret's inclination to go "over the top" in his style of socialising and related expenditure.


DC said...

couldn't help but be reminded of another "bull of a man" (that also had theatrical or maybe "showman" traits and definitely Taurean leanings) when I saw this post. Both Poiret and Orson Welles were large men (as is often the case with Taurus men) both with Jupiter in Pisces and a good bit of planets touching Aries.... Just sayin ;)

Twilight said...

DC ~~ Good point, DC - thanks!

Yes, some men (women too, I guess) with strong Taurus in their charts tend to be on the big side, especially if there's a matching tendency via heredity - that's possibly the clincher. Jay Leno is another man with what we see as typically Taurean looks - I think.

Wisewebwoman said...

Love his flamboyancy. And his designs some of which appear to be in Downton Abbey if you are a fan of such frivolity!! :)

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ Yes - he could never be accused of doing "subtle"! :-)

I don't watch Downton Abbey, WWW - it's against my religion. ;-)

navicade said...

It is informative post. The embodiment of all the traits of the stereotypical fashion designer. This designer is one of the best one. Everything is perfect in this post.

Twilight said...

navicade ~~ Hi! Glad you enjoyed it.