26 November 2017The Arts Society The Hague tour of "Art Deco - Paris"
10 December 2016DFAS visit to Volkenkunde Museum for The World of Feathers
16 April 2016DFAS Tour of the Maya Exhibition at the Drents Museum in Assen
24 January 2016DFAS Tour of "Rome, Emperor and Constantine's Dream
12 December 2015DFAS Tour of "Asia in Amsterdam"
21 November 2015DFAS Tour to the Glasgow Boys at the Drents Museum in Assen
06 October 2015Season Opener at the Residence of the British Ambassador
05 October 2015Kasteel Duivenvoorde keeps its Winterlandscape
23 May 2015Tour of Kubota Kimonos in the Sieboldhuis
26 April 2015DFAS Tour of the Frick Collection in the Mauritshuis
23 March 2015 "Geisha" at the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde, Leiden
13 December 2014DFAS Tour of Hermitage Amsterdam
23 November 2014DFAS Tour of Raoul Dufy, Singer Museum, Laren
30 October 2014Duivenvoorde by candle light
18 September 2014Season Opener for Hague DFAS Members

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The Arts Society The Hague tour of "Art Deco - Paris"
Sunday 26 November 2017

A large group of enthusiastic members of The Arts Society The Hague met at the Gemeente Museum.

Paul Poiret (1879-1944) - how much do we really know about him apart from his well-known sketches of the fashions of the time? These were his fashions. He was the trendsetter of his day. 

Art Historian Benno Hillebrand explained how Poiret established himself as 'brand leader' by careful marketing and subtle advertising as he wanted to gain a following and encourage a whole new lifestyle. By 1909 this 'branding' encompassed clothes as well as fabrics, glass, ceramics, silver, furniture, wallpapers, even scent.  The message was luxury and this shining thread runs through the exhibition, revealing couture clothes from the Poiret atelier, examples of Art Deco interior design, unique furniture, portraits, jewellery and accesssories.

Poiret's Parisian neighbour, Raoul Dufy helped him in this quest to sell a luxurious lifestyle by designing patterns for new wallpapers and fabrics with flowing, natural lines. Furniture was made with details such as softened corners, the comfortable upholstery being in muted tints as well as vibrant colours.

Together this became the popular and admired 'Atelier Martine'. During the 1925 Paris 'Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratif et Industriel', delayed because of the World War 1, Poiret and company used three house-boats moored nearby on the Seine, as shops and showrooms  to promote the aims of the Art Deco fashions. 

During his career, of great influence to Poiret were the Ballet Russes, fired by with Diagliev's imagination and Stravinksky's music which had recently arrived in Paris. The Wiener Werkstatte movement was also important from the design and industrial aspect. The aim was 'Gesamtkunstwerk'. All things exotic and oriental became the rage.

Artists such as Modigliani as well as Dufy were great friends and supporters of Paul Poiret.  He worked too with the Dutch artist Kees van Dongen who caught the atmosphere of the day in his portraits of languid society beauties wearing Poiret creations.

Liberation of the female form from 'corsetterie', floorlength skirts and heavy hats meant  freedom of movement which led to freedom of thought. Travel on the Le Train Bleu, the Orient Express,and  trans-Atlantic Liners was a la mode for the affluent. Luggage of course by Louis Vuitton.  

These Bright Young Things as they were sometimes known also bought the luxurious silks, often embroidered in the Eastern fashion, dressed in the fluid Poiret designs and bought glamorous jewellery from Cartier. Lalique was their glassware of choice, La Rosine their beautifully packaged perfume. Coco Chanel jumped on the bandwagon with her innovative, simple clothes such as La Petite Robe Noir, luxuriously accessorised with plenty of pearls.

As this streamlined movement continued, Vogue magazine encouraged readers to admire new performing artists such as Al Johnson and Josephine Baker.

The exhibition, to which the centenary show of Steltman jewellery, 'Haagse Chic' is linked, is drawing admiring crowds with  some of the museum's  own huge collection of couture clothes on show. Altogether a worthwhile morning was spent with an excellent guide describing the serene yet glowing treasures,  shown to advantage in a colourful and beautifully arranged setting.

Diana Maaldrink.