Making Dress Modern: Fashion and Art in the Teens
The close relationship between art and fashion that was much publicized
in the 1920's and 30's was already in evidence by 1910, as Paris
became the focal point of an artistic revolution. Couturiers like
Paul Poiret took an active part, as elements of the British Arts
and Crafts style and the Continental Art Nouveau began to merge
with the geometric forms, bright palettes, and "folk" or exotic
motifs of avant-garde movements in Germany, Austria, and France.
Cubists such as Picasso, and the fauvist painters Matisse and
Dufy, who were likened to "wild beasts" by critics for their unrestrained
use of vivid color, exerted a strong influence, as did artists of
the Vienna Workshops. In 1909, the Ballets Russes came to Paris
with their extravagantly colored and exotically patterned costumes
and sets, and the trickle of modernist ideas became a flood. Poiret
in particular responded with a new boldness, soon becoming famous
for his "orientalist" fashions.
Inspired by the modernist élan, the weaving firms of Lyon
sought out painters and graphic artists to design their fabrics.
Couturiers and artists, both traditional and avant-garde, formed
friendships and were influenced by each other's work. At the same
time, artists looked back to the French Empire, which inspired a
new, loosely fitted, tubular silhouette that replaced the heavily
corseted S-shapes of late 19th-century fashions.