The French couturier Paul Poiret frequently found inspiration in the Orient, creating this “Harem” evening ensemble in 1910. The Ballets Russes, under the direction of c, performed in Paris from 1909 to 1929. During that time it was considered one of the most influential theatre companies, sparking a vogue for all things Oriental when Léon Bakst created the costumes for Scheherazade. Paul Poiret was extremely influenced by Bakst’s costume designs for the production, which included bold hues, heavy embroidery and harem pants.
The harem pant has been a strong trend in the past couple of years. I myself, have always worn harem pants. When I could not find them, I made my own. I think my attraction to them is from a past lifetime. They are familiar to me, as well as comfortable, and exotic. In past decades, everyone from Saint Laurent to Sonia Rykiel have offered up their interpretations of the harem pant at one point or another. These days, there are slimmer versions in a variety of lengths and fabrics available.