Jeanne Lanvin

19 Aug

Born in 1867 within a poor family, the small Jeanne Lanvin did not seem to be destined to end up at the head of a fashion empire. From the age of 13, she began working as a milliner, and the talent is quickly detected. In 1885 she opened her first store. Like another great lady after her, Coco Chanel, she begins with the hats. Gradually, Lanvin gained reputation, thanks to an elegant and fairly traditional style, sometimes with ancient references.


Already recognized as an important name within the fashion field, Jeanne Lanvin gave birth in 1903 to a little girl, Marguerite that everyone called Marie-Blanche and who is an eternal source of inspiration for the fashion designer. Indeed, the mother dresses her daughter and her daughter’s dolls and this led to an initiative which aroused much interest from Lavin’s customers – a department for children clothes. This also represents a first for those times when fashion designers’ collections did not yet bend on toddlers. It is followed by another department for young girls created as a bridge between women and kids ones. Thus, the fashion designer closes the circle, offering complete collections for all ages.

The process started, Lanvin has contined to widen their range of products. A decoration department was opened in 1920, followed by a sports one in 1923, fur (with a special boutique opened in 1927) and perfumes (in 1924). Thanks to the creations of André Fraysse, the Lanvin house proved to be pretty successful in the fragrance area as well, especially with Arpeggio whose name was chosen by Margaret who became pianist. This first successful product was revived in the 1990s, lonf after My Sin was launched in 1925.

Upon the founder’s death, in 1946, the muse becomes an artist when she takes over the house’s creative management. The fashion house remains a family business until 1993 when L’Oreal purchased the majority of its shares and decided to close the haut couture department.

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