The Harem's Closet

Fashion was revolutionized in the early 1900s by the French designer Paul Poiret. Women were freed from the confines of the corset with his draped garmets as they embraced a new style to match their changing role in society.
The draping and innovative shapes by Poiret possessed an eastern feel. Wearing Poiret, or channeling his style as Balenciaga did for Fall 2009, makes you feel as if you're stepping into a harem. Feathers, soft silks, turbans, lampshade tunics, rich furs and harem pants, it's all in the Poiret style book.
Peggy Guggenheim

Balenciaga Fall 2009

I love the peek-a-boo lace bra. Quite fitting in a harem I'm sure.

Denise Poiret, seen here at the NY Plaza Hotel in 1913, was the muse behind Poiret's designs.

Like Balenciaga, John Galliano found his inner Poiret for this Fall's Dior collection. Turbans, fur trims, hobble skirts that narrow at the knee, as well as many more elements sing to the tune of Poiret.

You can see the eastern influence in the styling of the lampshade tunic. It's a bit like a shortened kimono.

This pink dress is so sweet. The tassels at the waist make me think she grabbed the tie-backs from the harem's curtains to add this darling detail. Who knew pink and red could look this good together?

Paul Poiret design from the Met Museum.