Jeanne-Marie Lanvin (1 January 1867, Paris – 6 July 1946, Paris) was a French fashion designer and the founder of the Lanvin fashion house.
One of the most influential designers of the 1920s and '30s, Jeanne Lanvin's skillful use of intricate trimmings, virtuoso embroideries and beaded decorations in clear, light, floral colors became a Lanvin trademark. When Lanvin died in 1946, ownership of the firm was naturally ceded to the designer's daughter, Marguerite di Pietro.
The eldest of 11 children, she became an apprentice milliner at Madame Félix in Paris at the age of 16 and trained at dressmaker Talbot before becoming a milliner on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in 1889.
In 1895, Lanvin married her first husband, Count Emilio di Pietro, an Italian nobleman and two years later gave birth to a daughter, Marguerite (also known as Marie-Blanche) (1897–1958). The couple's only child, Marguerite di Pietro became an opera singer, married the Count Jean de Polignac (1888–1943), and was, on the death of her mother, the director of the Lanvin fashion house. Lanvin and di Pietro divorced in 1903. Lanvin's second husband, whom she married in 1907, was Xavier Melet, a journalist at the newspaper Les Temps and later the French consul in Manchester, England.
In 1909, Lanvin joined the Syndicat de la Couture, which marked her formal status as a couturière. Lanvin made such beautiful clothes for her daughter that they began to attract the attention of a number of wealthy people who requested copies for their own children. Soon, Lanvin was making dresses for their mothers, and some of the most famous names in Europe were included in the clientele of her new boutique on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris. She became known for her mother-and-daughter outfits and exquisite robes de style, as well as her modern and global approach to the fashion industry.
From 1923, the Lanvin empire included a dye factory in Nanterre. In the 1920s, Lanvin opened shops devoted to home décor, menswear, furs and lingerie.
However, her most significant expansion was the creation of Lanvin Parfums SA in 1924 and the introduction of her signature, fragrance Arpège, in 1927, inspired by the sound of her daughter Marguerite's practicing her scales on the piano. ("Arpège" is French for arpeggio.)
In addition, Lanvin commissioned Rateau to decorate her apartment at 16 rue Barbet-de-Jouy, Paris, and two country houses. (The living room, boudoir and bathroom of the apartment was reassembled in 1985 in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.) For this domicile, Rateau designed some remarkable 1920–22 furniture in bronze. During 1921–22, Rateau was manager of Lanvin-Sport and he also designed the Lanvin spherical La Boule perfume flacon for Arpège (originally produced by the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres). To this day, Arpège perfume containers are imprinted with Paul Iribe's gold image (rendered in 1907) of Lanvin and her daughter Marguerite. Rateau also designed Lanvin’s fashion house and managed Lanvin-Décoration (an interior-design department, established 1920) in the main store on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Alberto Elbaz was born in Casablanca, Morocco. He immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of ten and grew up in Holon. After serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, he studied at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan.
In 1987, Elbaz moved to New York City and spent two years working for a manufacturer of mother-of-the-bride clothing. He then worked for Geoffrey Beene for seven years. He says he was influenced by Beene's rejection of trends and masterful drape and fit. "It was a very beautiful relationship.... Our best dialogue was not in words," Elbaz has reminisced.
In 1997, Elbaz left Beene and, through retailer Dawn Mello, was hired by the firm of Guy Laroche. But, by the time of Elbaz's arrival, the Laroche enterprise had become overly conservative and lackluster. Even so, Elbaz was able to update the collection and somewhat enhance the image of the firm, whose activities at the time included the management of 15 boutiques and 70 license agreements worldwide. However, he departed within a year, 1998, and began designing ready-to-wear women's clothing for Yves Saint Laurent, because Saint-Laurent himself wished to withdraw from his hands-on design of prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear). In the position, Elbaz's talent was recognized, and he was groomed to become the head designer of the house when Saint Laurent retired. This was not to happen, because the Gucci Group purchased YSL Rive Gauche, the ready-to-wear label, and, hence, Gucci design director Tom Ford dismissed Elbaz after three collections. Elbaz instead began working for Krizia in Italy and designed a well-received inaugural collection.
In October 2001, Elbaz was appointed artistic director of Lanvin in Paris. In August 2001, the company had been purchased by investor group Harmonie S.A., led by Mrs. Shaw-Lan Wang, a Taiwanese media magnate, who hired Elbaz. In 2006, he introduced new packaging for the fashion house, featuring a light forget-me-not blue color, a favorite shade which Lanvin purportedly had seen in a Fra Angelico fresco. Packaging has included shopping bags, imprinted with Paul Iribe's 1907 illustration of Lanvin and her daughter Marguerite, and shoe boxes designed like antique library files, tied with black ribbons, to emphasize the precious nature of the product.
Elbaz illustrated the song "Lady Jane" in singer-songwriter Mika's extended play "Songs for Sorrow.
Elbaz's simple, feminine clothing, which has been compared to Lanvin's 1920s outfits, has been lauded by the fashion press. Suzy Menkes wrote: "Elbaz is every woman's darling. And that includes Nicole, Kate, Chloé Sevigny, Sofia Coppola and a slew of rising movie names."
*Text from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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