PARIS, France — Can a house like Paul Poiret — by now sealed in the memory of obsessive fashionistas, historians and enthusiasts — have a second life, long after the first one? Paul Poiret closed doors in 1929. By then, having fallen from the hearts of the elite, he was saddled with debt. Almost a century passed, during which Poiret's wonderful sense of exoticism has become part of the collective fashion unconscious, masterfully quoted by Romeo Gigli and John Galliano in seminal moments of their respective careers. But what exactly is Poiret's heritage? And can it be relevant today?
Poiret invented a new, free silhouette by taking away the bustle and looking at other cultures. Freedom and multiculturalism are more relevant now than even before. The answer, then, is a yes. There is space for a house like Poiret, as long as its heritage is condensed into a punchy fashion message. Instead, designer Yiqing Yin's debut at the house resulted in a collection without a coherent enough agenda, drifting from Gigli nods to whiffs of Krizia to riffs on Alber Elbaz. Poiret is a legendary brand. The new creative director needs to deliver something suitably legendary. There's work to do.