Paul Poiret sold to Korean investor

Historic French fashion house Paul Poiret has been sold to South Korean conglomerate Shinsegae International (owned by giant SAMSUNG) which hopes to reinvent the brand for a modern consumer, reports WWD. The plan for the label is to focus on fragrance and beauty to begin with before moving on to fashion and accessories, according to Pierre Mallevays, the managing director of London-based practice that represents the seller, Luvanis SA.

The trademark rights that are a part of the sale – of which financial details have not yet been disclosed – include extensive rights to the archive collection.

Poiret established his own house in 1903, and made his name with his controversial kimono coat and similar, loose-fitting designs created specifically for an uncorseted, slim figure. He designed flamboyant window displays and threw sensational parties to draw attention to his work. His instinct for marketing and branding was unmatched by any other Parisian designer, although the pioneering fashion shows of the British-based Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon) had already attracted tremendous publicity. In 1909, he was so famous, Margot Asquith, wife of British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, invited him to show his designs at 10 Downing Street. The cheapest garment at the exhibition was 30 guineas, double the annual salary of a scullery maid.

Paul Poiret Couture, 1911