The limits of La Loi Poiret


Miley Cyrus for Marc Jacobs - SS14
In 1910s in Paris, there was no such designer as Paul Poiret to sense and shape the women's desires. In a few decades, he established the standards of modern fashion through both technical and marketing innovations. He is also one of the first to have analysed cycles in fashion, trying to anticipate them in a rational way.

One of his most famous observation is known as "La loi de Poiret". This law states that all fashion ends in excess. Once a trend reaches its borders (physical limits in fashion), it ends giving birth to a new opposite trends. Paul Poiret used the example of hats furnished by ornaments. At one point, they were so furnished that the only possible next step was to cut all the ornaments down. 

Women & their hats in the Roaring 20es

You will ask me why new trends have to emerge then ? Why can't we stay we furnished hats ? One of the reason is that trends are generated by people looking to single them out. As soon as the masses start to copy their style, they need to have a new one. One word to explain this move : differenciation.

Today, La loi de Poiret can be challenged with technical improvements that will soon destroy the physical limits in fashion. With 3D printing, the possibilities are becoming limitless. Also, new icons' and their obsession of endless fashion provocation have destroyed the borders of manners and aesthetics. Miley Cyrus rocking naked with Dr. Martens a Wrecking Ball is not anecdotal. First, she is not the first nor the only star behaving in such a way. Secondly, she has a huge worldwide visibility. Last but not least, she collaborates with some popular designers who participate in shaping trends. 

Through social media, her different performances always have global reach, having an impact on the viewers' decency towards nudity and provocative attitude more generally. It's also a signal for designers and trend makers that customers won't be "too offended" if the upcoming seasons are more provocative. I'm pretty sure Paul Poiret had not anticipated the end of limits and this evolution of womenswear.

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