Paul Poiret (French, 18791944)
Black silk and wool blend with white leather appliqués and white fur trim
Gift of Mrs. David J. Colton, 1961 (C.I.61.40.4)
In the 1910s, Poiret introduced an avant-garde sensibility into couture. His penchant for opulent gestures, lush fabrics, fur, and feathers was part of his grandiose Gesamtkunstwerk, inspired by stage and Orientalist extravaganza. He was also capable of more subdued garments. In the case of this day coat, the leather of the appliqués is cut into delicate filigree and couched by hand onto the wool to create a graphic lattice of white over black. The cylindrical silhouette and standing collar suggest inspiration from Chinese or Near Eastern robes and coats.