Patricia Morrison in 1939.
A dress designed by Paul Poiret for Liberty in March 1933.
Paul Poiret (1879-1944) was born in Paris. He opened his own salon after serving an apprenticeship for Douçet and working for Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895), the English-born designer whose Paris salon dominated French couture. Poiret was one of the most creative fashion designers of the 20th century. He also revived fashion illustration, founded a school for the decorative arts and even diversified into perfume. He led the forefront of the artistic fashion movement away from the curvilinear silhouette of the early 1900s towards a longer, leaner line. His brilliantly coloured, looser clothes, often inspired by the ‘orientalist’ enthusiasm for Eastern fashions and traditions, were extremely popular.
By 1933, the year of this dress’s creation, Poiret was bankrupt and no longer in the vanguard of fashion. He was commissioned by Liberty’s, a London-based shop, to create a number of designs for its Model Gown Salon. This elegant gown (one of the few from that collection to survive) is typical of 1930s evening attire. Made in bias-cut ivory satin, it features a dramatic open back, fitted torso and gently flaring skirt. The cascade of velvet ribbons and diamanté buckles focuses attention on the back.
Alice White surrounded by dolls.
Charles James evening dress and coat from 1934.
Carole Lombard in a dress by Travis Banton.
Kanze Sakon performing Noh theatre in 1938.