A Paul Poiret Party in Paris
The name of Paul Poiret, despite the fact that the fashion house closed down in 1929 amidst debt and foreclosure, has remained legendary in fashion circles to this day. This is because the founder's work and actions struck the imagination so much thanks not only to his ground-breaking, fluid fashions, and love of luxurious Orientalism - perceptible in the choice of his fragrance bottles too - but also because he was part of the Tout Paris establishment cutting the figure of a French Gatsby of the Parisian Roaring Twenties...
Paul Poiret loved the spectacular and the theatrical, which on occasions showed in extreme form as in his "fountain" costume. His love of ostentation earned him the nickname of "Le Magnifique" in reference to the Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent.
Today, his name and trademarks are up for sale thanks to a transaction proposed by Luxemburg-based group Luvanis Est. 2009. They specialize in refurbishing old glories or brands known as "sleeping beauties" of the style and fashion world. Recently, they sold Moynat to LVMH.
Arnaud de Lummen, Managing Director of Luvanis said,
We are thrilled to present the unique opportunity to resurrect Paul Poiret's label and to bring forward his vision of the modern woman. Paul Poiret never ceased to be timely and, with the increasing convergence between fashion and art, it is a great moment for Poiret to return to business.
A key to Paul Poiret's success was according to Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton his close association with the art world. It is a costume design for the stage in a play called Zaza worn by actress Réjane that put Poiret in the limelight, literally. Painting was also an area of predilection for him. His lavish parties and sense of press relations ensured his name circulated among the celebrities of the day.
Aladin by Les Parfums de Rosine
From a fragrance vantage point, the signature of Paul Poiret is equally legendary. Poiret's sense of the festive, opulent and innovative shows in his bottle designs - and this is one of the reasons people today can still refer themselves to a Paul Poiret perfume bottle or packaging as a style benchmark. For his spirit and story-telling capacities, he makes you think of a Serge Lutens' instinctive inclination for oriental tales in perfumery today.
We asked Luvanis if they had managed to purchase the trademarks to Poiret's perfumes too. Arnaud de Lummen answered that they can confirm that "Luvanis holds trademark rights for all perfumes and cosmetics branded "Paul Poiret". He also adds that they do not detain any book with secret formulae as "Formulas of earlier perfumes are now in the public domain and not part of our belongings."
To say that "Paul Poiret" is a perfume and cosmetics label is a forward-looking statement as the Poiret perfumes were never sold under that name but under that of Les Parfums de Rosine. The latter name has been re-used by a French niche perfume house specializing in rose perfumes founded by Marie-Hélène Rogeon in 1991, who had a relative who had worked with the defunct perfume house.
A comment left on the blog by Martine Campos de Wandre in 2009, the grand-daughter of Robert de Wandre, the industrial partner of Paul Poiret and owner of Les Parfums de Rosine evokes the family's bewilderment and sense of shock at seeing the name reprised without their consent, although she adds that they were at the same time happy to see the name survive.
A Windscreen from L'Atelier de Martine, currently up for sale
Paul Poiret was a fashion brand, but also famously and characteristically, a lifestyle brand. His two other brand names that are recognized for their influence are besides Les Parfums de Rosine, L'Atelier de Martine, both named after his daughters. It looks however like Luvanis are betting this time on a single signature. They've associated themselves with Savigny Partners LLP "to assist in selecting the appropriate investor to revive Paul Poiret".
Interested parties are invited to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement ("NDA"), available for download here. The NDA should be executed on your letterhead paper, signed and dated by a person of competent authority, and submitted to Savigny Partners no later than the 14th November 2014 at twelve noon London time.
The bid can be made via paulpoiret.com