NEW YORK, SUNDAY,
OCTOBER 5, 1913.
l-T-MUE art in designing costumes for women lies in not designing them."
Such, in brief, is the surprising and almost heretical doctrine
impounded without reserve by M. Paul Poiret, perhaps the most
widely known designer of frocks, suits and hats, now in active life.
M i' ret expressed this extraordinary theory of the art feminine soon
after ! ,' nvd from Paris in New York; and his declaration is creating a sen
"s.ihon , - ig American women of fashion as well as among American designers
and '! s of costumes. '
A. " ling to M. Poiret, originator gf the tight skirt at least in its modern
fi - , 1rt jn dress results not from deliberate design but from the soul
" "'' 'i ;irt is not the result of skilfully drawing patterns or experimenting
it "i"'i vts and tones; of harmonizing lines of varying curve emphasis into
t 1 ii ensemble not by any means.
I M. Poiret's belief true art springs without effort from the innermost
t irf tlv man or the woman who is endowed with sensitive art perceptions.
I ' i .i person give full play to the unhampered feeling of the soul, the sub
c .r , ious self and lol therefrom bursts poetry, grace, charm, fulfilment, whether
i'1 1 '. coat, skirt, or wrap.
" woman." says M. Poiret, "should choose the colors of her gown in the
if' i g, as a man chooses his necktie to match the soul." Also he adds, with
Pr I attention to mundane affairs, "in selecting which costume to wear
Hi irning she should consider where she is going,' and what the tempera,
i tur ii well as other weather conditions.
i in the first place, above all else should she consider her own feelings;
for rtf nre gowns that sing for joy, gowns that weep, and gowns that are full
of i -try."
' rn all of which it may be inferred by mere man that the matter of ferni-
'tn Mire has depths never before even suspected.
M. Poiret, however, does not permit the mysticism which envelops his
iiiM- ai an perceptions to suomerge nis waciicai sen. rur wmic nc m mo
country on a vacation he may be the means of teaching American v6men what
he h. eves are the true basic principles of right dressing, of becoming attire,
hich means so much in Dersonal charm to one who understands (t. -
"The average woman I see in Fifth avenue," he continues, "is not coura
kus ( nough to insist on costumes which are especially fitted to her own indi
Mdua! v and tmwrinwi. It miv Mtm a little straw for me to say this,
Uxauv the American woman has been noted the world overfor her fearWss-
'- ana originality.
Copyright, Ills. yltw
Printing and PuHkn$
Orwnal Oesteri for JLmtnpaAaJe. &ttt
"What I mean is that instead of insisting on costumes which are partial,
larly suited to her individual self in design, color scheme and fabric the aver
age American woman of fashion as 1 have seen her in your Fifth avenue
follows the fashion so closely that she sacrifices to some extent her own figure
lines, complexion, carriage, attitude, temperament and manner.
"Now, what Is suited generally to a dozen women as a rule is not suited
particularly to five or six different types of women. Unch has her own origi
nality, as I may term It ; and this must be considered before she adopts a fashion
of dress not distinctly her own. It all comes down largely to a matter of feeling,
guided by intelligent knowledge of what is and what is not artistic.
"Let me illustrate what I mean by this feeling. You ask me what the next
mode will be. I do not know. I do not even attempt to guess it or forecast it.
Why? Because mode is not a theory to le worked out in advance it is a matter
of feeling emanating from the soul; and sometimes this results from worldwide
"Just now we are wearing Oriental costumes because every one is thinking
of the war in the East, and this inevitably compels art feeling in dress to express
Itself in Oriental atmosphere. To carry the explanation a little further, the
real reason why modes originate in Paris and not in some other great capital
is limply because the French are of all nations the most sensitive and respond
more quickly, more authentically to this intangible feeling which is ever present
in art and poetry."
And then in answer to a direct question M. Poiret fired a direct reply,
uncompromising in its startling force at least to the women, young and older,
who were listening to him:
"A woman should not wear corsets unless she is fat. And American women
do not look fat."
So said M. Poiret of Parisl
It is not alone in the matter of originating costumes that M. Poiret h;is
won fame. He is a decorator of interiors as well, -and a
maker of rare perfumes. Some of his most widely
recognized triumphs have been seen In great ballets
and other stage spectacles.
He is, known everywhere, of course, as creator of
the lamp shade skirt, originally worn by a dancer in
the Imperial Russian Ballet; whose picture is shown
above: Another of the Illustrations portrays Mine.
Poiret in a lampshade -creation with a black satin
skirt with white embroidery. And there is a picture of M. Poiret himself
wearing a business costume ready to start for his office.
fit On m ofjfmr jfusbmn. dJ Crm ft on
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