Jeanne Lanvin

Portrait Lanvin

Jeanne Lanvin, born at 35 Rue Mazarine in Paris, is the eldest of the eleven children of Bernard-Constant Lanvin, a press employee, and his wife, born Sophie Blanche Deshayes, a seamstress. The family lives in great poverty. Jeanne began working at the age of thirteen, in 1880, as a Garnisher in the Hat Shop of "Madame Félix", rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in Paris and as apprentice at the milliner" Boni ". In 1885, she opened, thanks to a louis D'or donated by a client and a credit of three hundred francs granted by a few suppliers, her first small fashion store still on Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, and then her first shop on Rue Boissy d'anglas, in 1889. She sells her own collections, which are still mainly made up of headdresses.

On February 20, 1896 in Paris 8e, she married Count Emilio Di Pietro, from whom she separated in 1903 after giving birth to a daughter, Marguerite, called " Marie-Blanche ". For her, Jeanne designs dresses that very quickly inspire her a children's collection. Her talent turns out to be so great that a collection for women was launched in 1909. Since then, it is mainly for her dresses that Jeanne Lanvin is known. Her insistence on the finishes of her toilets contributed to her fame and she then represented the Parisian. Jeanne Lanvin greatly appreciates the colors ; his fetish color blue Lanvin or pink Polignac in tribute to his daughter or green Velasquez are classics of the House. To preserve the exclusivity of her colors, she founded her own dyeing workshops in Nanterre in 1923. Despite this love for colors, Jeanne Lanvin is particularly fond of black that she considers to represent the "ultimate chic" and that she wore all her life.

On 6 March 1903, she divorced Di Pietro and married four years later Xavier Mélet, a journalist for the conservative daily Le Temps and consul of France in Manchester.

The 1920s saw a considerable development of the Lanvin House, including opening the Department Lanvin decoration. In 1924, she expanded her field of activity to perfumes to finance expensive haute couture. The first, my Sin, was launched in 1925. It was around this time that she began to collaborate with the designer Armand-Albert Rateau, who took care of the decoration of her mansion at 16, rue Barbet-de-Jouy, and the interior appearance of her shops. From this collaboration comes out an interior line, Lanvin decorations. In 1926, also follows a men's collection. In 1927, she created Jeanne Lanvin SA. and opened many branches. In the same year, his perfume « Arpège »was launched.

Great rival of Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin is innovative in the technique of cutting, bareness of the accessories and her creations surpass those of Chanel "in critical success and fame" until 1925.

After Jeanne Lanvin's death, in 1946, many designers continued to create fashion items for the Lanvin House over the years, including her daughter Marie-Blanche (1946), who remained the owner of the House until her death in 1958 and Claude Montana (1990). Until 1989 Maryll Lanvin was the last member of the family to be a designer.

Over time, the owners of the Lanvin House also changed several times. Until the late 1980s, the company remained the property of the extended family, last under Bernard Lanvin - a great-nephew of Jeanne - and his wife Maryll. In early 1989, financial constraints forced Bernard Lanvin to sell 34% of the business to London's Midland Bank. In the middle of the same year, the bank increased its share to 40% and removed Maryll Lanvin from his position as a designer. His projects had been described as "pretty but lacking distinction". However, his successor Claude Montana had to be even less successful. In 1990, Orcofi, from the Louis Vuitton family, took control of the group, and in 1990, L'oréal joined the heavily indebted company. Until 1996, L'oréal gradually bought the whole of orcofi's shares. In 1993, haute Couture was abandoned and the Lanvin house was therefore limited to the perfume trade and licensing ; the modest success of ready-to-wear, which at the time was known mainly for men's goods such as ties and shirts sold in Duty Free, was only gradually revived, thanks to L'oréal, in the late 1990s, and thanks also to Alber Elbaz. In 2001, Chinese businesswoman Shaw-Lan Wang bought Lanvin house in L'oreal.


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