When you think of 20th-century French designers, these names usually come to mind: Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent. But before Chanel introduced trousers for women, Paul Poiret was liberating women from corsets. The underrated designer was also the first couturier to sell perfumes commercially (a decade before Chanel No. 5). Now, since the fashion house shut down in 1929, Paul Poiret comes back to life, with the help of Anne Chapelle. The Belgian entrepreneur is the woman behind Haider Ackermann and Ann Demeulemeester, and is now the chief executive of Paul Poiret.
Relaunching during Paris Fashion Week, the brand has taken Céline’s time slot on March 4th (a good start perhaps?). According to Business of Fashion, the French brand is being financed by the granddaughter of Samsung's founder, Chung Yoo-Kyung. The South Korean investor has brought luxury brands like Moncler, Dries Van Noten, and Givenchy into the country. What’s even more surprising, Chapelle has chosen a Paris-based Chinese designer Yiqing Ying.
There is still much to discover on Chapelle’s strategy to rebuild Poiret, but she’s definitely looking at the rapid growth of consumerism in Asian countries. “It’s like reading a book to the new generation … We’re not magicians, we’re just trying to tell a beautiful story and make it relevant today,” told Chapelle to Business of Fashion.
While other fashion houses like Gucci, Coach, and Balenciaga focused on reinventing themselves through new creative directors, Chapelle decided to ressurect what was once a classic fashion house, back from the last century. If it all goes well, this could be the new trend in fashion business — to bring back dead fashion houses to life.
Take a look at some of Poiret's old works: