Jeanne Paquin was the first woman to become a fashion icon, and was widely admired by the public and was the inspiration for Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel. She always wore her own designs, which were renowned for their imaginative design, great craftsmanship, and unique artistry.
“… it is the material that inspires me. But I get inspiration everywhere. When I am travelling or walking in the street, when I see a sunset with beautiful blendings of colour, I often get an inspiration that helps me to evolve new combinations.… Our work in some respects resembles that of the painter.” -Jeanne Paquin in Designs and Publicite, 1913.
An experienced artist and colourist, Paquin created amazing visuals with light, colour and texture. Her designs ranged from luminescent , pastel dresses to bold, vibrant, oriental inspired creations. Her signature techniques included layering, bending, textural hues, playing with different light effects on each material, beading, pleating, appliqué. She also used lots of chiffon, fur trims , contrasting colours of black and pink, and always seeked novelty and individualism in her fairy-tale like designs.
In 1900 Paquin was chosen as president of the Fashion section of the Paris Universal International Exhibition, modelling her pastel evening gowns. Her most important asset was the fact that she knew how to market her fashion house in a variety of ways, including showing off her models a numbers of Paris events.
In 1907 she started designing kimino styled capes, her inspiration coming from her interest in japan and japanese culture. These orientail designs stood out from her earlier work, the bold colour and prints standing out from her feminine gowns.