One of our major goals on our Paris trip was to pay our respects to Paul Poiret so a trip to Cimètiere Montmarte was definitely in order. Commonly acknowledged as the King of Fashion, Paul Poiret enjoyed a colorful career as a couturier in the early 20th Century and is credited with both paradoxically eliminating the confines of the corset while at the same time introducing the hobble skirt. Unfortunately, while Poiret was a fashion innovator, he was unable to adapt to the profound social and economic changes that were brought about by the First World War and gradually his fashion designs fell out of favor. Combined with an inability to management money, Poiret’s fashion business ultimately failed while at the same time going through a nasty divorce. As the years went buy, Poiret faded into obscurity, only kept financially afloat by his various friends including the designer Elsa Schiaparelli, ultimately dying on April 30, 1944.
We were able to locate the cemetery where Poiret was interred and it seemed like a fairly easy task to locate his final resting place. However, in reality, it was a lot more difficult and as things turned out, he’s interred in a family tomb bearing the name “Boivin.” We’re not sure of the exact family connection but its location was consistent with what we had researched online and with some close examination of the tomb’s inside (not easy since it was dark inside), we located his gravestone/commemorative marker. It wasn’t easy getting a picture of the marker because of the grill covering the tomb’s window:
I have to say, it was quite a moving and sad experience visiting Paul Poiret’s tomb- it’s obvious that it does not get many visitors and it’s located in an obscure part of the cemetery far from the entrance. It’s sad to consider that for being one of the most influential couturiers in France that he died in obscurity, almost forgotten, the product of a long-dead age. Well, we like to think that at we remember. 🙂 Next time when we visit, we’ll be sure to bring flowers.
As an aside, Cimètiere Montmarte is a fascinating cemetery located in Montmarte in the 18e Arrondisement of Paris and it’s the final resting place for many famous individuals including military figures, authors, actors, artists, and musicians, as well as regular people, and it’s a quiet oasis in what is normally a very busy and noisy city. Also, for some reason, it’s also the home of a large number of black cats and crows- go figure. 🙂 If you ever get to Paris, the cemetery is definitely worth a visit.