Is Paul Poiret making a return?
Up for online auction from today
It seems that Paul Poiret could be about to become to be the next big Parisian brand revival, with a very modern twist, as the current owner of the Poiret trademarks plans to sell them via an online auction process that kicks off today, making the deal very public indeed.
Online auctions of intellectual property assets aren't anything new, but "the unusual side here is that the process is meant to allow the successful bidder to relaunch and develop the brand as a business. This is not for collectors," said Pierre Mallevays, managing director of London-based Savigny Partners, the boutique M&A firm heading up the process.
Poiret is deemed a "very special asset" and bound to attract interest from a wide spectrum of potential bidders, and the online approach gives everyone potentially interested the chance to participate.
Paul Poiret currently belongs to Luvanis SA, a company under the stewardship of French entrepreneur Arnaud de Lummen, who is making something of a habit of awakening dormant brands. He reintroduced Vionnet ready-to-wear in 2006, and famously sold Moynat, the prestigious 19th-century trunk maker to Groupe Arnault, which recently unveiled a product collaboration with Pharrell Williams.
"In terms of notoriety, today's closest equivalent to Paul Poiret would be Karl Lagerfeld"
Although Poiret products have been absent from the market for more than 80 years, de Lummen is convinced it has the legitimacy to become a global lifestyle brand, with the name being synonymous with the beginning of modern fashion.
"In terms of notoriety, today's closest equivalent to Paul Poiret would be Karl Lagerfeld," de Lummen said. "Paul Poiret is much more than a style or a couture label. He established lifestyle branding and lived it fully himself."
Dubbed the "King of Fashion" between 1904 and 1924, the French designer was known for embracing Orientalism and bringing strident colour, harem pants, kimono coats and hobble skirts into fashion.
"Personally, my dream would have been for John Galliano to be the designer," he said, referring to the British fashion maverick who recently joined Maison Martin Margiela as creative director after sitting on the sidelines for three years following his ouster from Dior and his signature fashion house.
"However, we eventually decided to limit our role in this preliminary state of the revival and to now identify the right partner or investor who will lead the relaunch," he said.
"Poiret is celebrated everywhere as the first true superstar fashion designer," he said, pointing to frequent Poiret mentions in fashion magazines, art books, major exhibitions and even digital archives, which are harnessing the power of the Internet to popularise historic designers. "The fashion world is getting more and more addicted to its own past..."