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Paul Poiret Bucked, Pioneered Fashion Trends

Paul Poiret couldn't sew, but he called himself the "King of Fashion."

Poiret, who died in 1944, is largely credited for freeing women from corsets and introducing them to pantaloons.

For the first time in more than 30 years, a major exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates Poiret's life and work.

The exhibit, which runs through August 5th, features 50 ensembles that highlight the facets of his career — including the his draped, unstructured clothes and his fascination with the Ballets Russes and the Wiener Werkstatte.

Born to a family of drapers, Poiret preferred draping fabric on the body to make dresses, rather than tailoring — a technique that is still used today at modern fashion houses. He wasn't afraid to break out of fashion's molds, and he used his wife, Denise, as his primary model and muse. The heart of the Met's exhibition features a group of creations Poiret made for Denise, many of which have never been photographed or put on public display.

Poiret's vision also extended outside of fashion to art, theater, architecture and interior design. He collaborated with top designers of the day and created a series of workshops for the production of fabrics, furniture and decorative objects.

Jacki Lyden spoke with curator Andrew Bolton about Poiret's life and eclectic designs.

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