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Day dress - Brique


  • Object:

    Day dress

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (designed)

  • Date:

    1924 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Paul Poiret, born 1879 - died 1944 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fine flecked worsted, trimmed with rayon braid and tassles, machine-stitched and hand-finished

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Paul Poiret (1879-1944) was born in Paris. He opened his own salon after serving an apprenticeship for Douçet and working for Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895). He was one of the most creative fashion designers of the 20th century. He also revived fashion illustration, founded a school for the decorative arts and even diversified into perfume. He led the forefront of the artistic fashion movement away from the curvilinear silhouette of the early 1900s towards a longer, leaner line. His brilliantly coloured, looser clothes, often inspired by the 'orientalist' enthusiasm for Eastern fashions and traditions, were extremely popular.

The use of rayon trimmings on this garment is interesting. In spite of the rapid development in the 20th century of man-made fibres, couturiers tended to remain faithful to costly natural fabrics, with the exception of trimmings, such as the braid on this dress. Braid manufacturers were among the first bulk buyers of artificial silk, and were then joined by hosiery and underwear manufacturers. By the 1930s an increasing number of couturiers were attracted to the newly available and sophisticated rayon dress goods.

Although the donor of this garment to the V&A is anonymous, it forms part of the Cecil Beaton Collection, which was brought together by the society photographer Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-1980). With great energy and determination, Beaton contacted the well-dressed elite of Europe and North America to help create this lasting monument to the art of dress. The Collection was exhibited in 1971, accompanied by a catalogue that detailed its enormous range. The Musée de la Mode in Paris has a photograph of this dress (inscribed 'No 5521, Fev 1924', Model no.164).

Physical description

Long sleeved, calf length dress in orange flecked with natural, plain weave worsetd. The body is cut in two pieces, one front and one back. The sleeves are of the Dolman style, set in low, almost to waist level. The dress is fairly straight cut and narrow, but the impression of a fuller skirt is created by two panels attached to the front sides just below hip level. They form two shallow pockets below which they are gathered and fall to the hem.

The dress is trimmed with heavy wide braid with narrow horizontal stripes in black and white rayon. Three bands decorate the cuffs, two bands decorate the pocket tops and circle the back of the dress. The front is slit from the neck to the sternum, fastening at the top with ties of black watered silk grosgrain ribbon. Braid edges the circular neck and the left side of the slit opening. Three diagonal bands of the braid decorate the right top of the dress, terminating at the slit neck. Black and white tassels are attached to the bottom of the braid, edging the slit neckline and the pockets top.

The dress is machine stitched and hand finished in rather a crude manner. The wide hem is finished with orange binding tape. Most of the inside raw edges are whipped. The dress fastens at the left side with hooks and loops.

Place of Origin

Paris (designed)


1924 (designed)


Paul Poiret, born 1879 - died 1944 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Fine flecked worsted, trimmed with rayon braid and tassles, machine-stitched and hand-finished

Marks and inscriptions

Label of black on white 'PAUL POIRET a Paris'

Inscribed in black 'S4935 Mme J Hutchinson Elisabeth-Brique'

Descriptive line

Day dress of worsted, 'Brique', designed by Poiret, Paris, 1924.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971


Fashion; Day wear; Women's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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