Was it fate?
Jeanne Lanvin was born on 1 January 1867 in Paris.
The oldest of eleven children in a very modest family, her calling for the fashion industry was clear from a very young age. As a teenager, she began an apprenticeship with a milliner on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
She was in charge of delivering hats to clients, and preferred running behind the horse-drawn carriage rather than spend money on a ticket.
When she was sixteen, she became apprentice milliner for Félix at 15 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the current address for Lanvin Menswear. That was where Jeanne Lanvin designed her first hats…
Little by little, she designed a wonderful wardrobe for Marguerite. Jeanne Lanvin had just invented children’s fashion.
The shop’s customers, the mothers of the little girls who were in the same private class, fell instantly in love with the designs, asking Jeanne Lanvin to make the same outfits for their own children.
A bespoke high-waisted suit with an empire neckline, embroidered with olive branches and golden threads. Some sixty other suits would follow for immortals such as Paul Valéry, Georges Duhamel or André Maurois. They were the first fruits of Lanvin’s entry into the exclusive world of men’s bespoke tailoring.
A year earlier, Jeanne Lanvin and Marguerite had attended a costume ball. The scene was immortalised through a photograph of the dressmaker with her daughter, both dressed up and sporting hats.
This went on to become the house’s emblem.DISCOVER THE STORY OF THE LOGO
For her summer collection, Jeanne Lanvin created for the first time in her career a wedding dress with soft, romantic lines. She adopted the dress-shirt line for long, flowing creations for slim figures, delicately belted at the waist. The dress was subtly decorated: sleeves, a bordered skirt and a lace bodice. A white muslin veil, held in place by a crown of leaves, falls gracefully down the back.
Three French fashion houses, including Paquin, Doucet, Caillot Sœurs and Worth represented the Haute Couture boom and its international influence. For Jeanne, the success of this exhibition allowed her to gain a stronger, more sustainable presence in the United States than her Parisian colleagues.
Jeanne Lanvin decided to produce luxury décor at a time when this sector was industrialised…
A pioneer, she was a forerunner in the lifestyle area, partnering with architect and interior designer, Armand-Albert Rateau. Together they created a home decor store at 15 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, opposite her fashion house…
Featuring simple yet imaginative outfits, the materials used were comfortable and perfect for sport, which was increasing in popularity.
She included bathing suits and attire suited to skiing, golf and tennis. Comfort became synonymous with elegance.
For this reason she introduced the ladies’ boyish style trouser suit. Nothing could escape the genius of Jeanne Lanvin.
These were also happy days for Jeanne Lanvin, Vice President of the style section at the International Decorative Arts Exhibition. Responsible for representing dressmaking, Jeanne embodied the elegance and excellence of this French tradition. She employed the aesthetic of Lanvin décor and her designs under the huge glass roof of the Grand Palais.
Maurice Lanvin, one of her nephews, assumed management of 15 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Lanvin’s current address.
Lanvin was then the only fashion house to offer both Men’s and Women’s collections.
This year, 1926, Lanvin Lingerie was launched.
Perfumer André Fraysse brought together Bulgarian rose, Grasse jasmine, honeysuckle and lily of the valley in a sensual original blend.
The famous logo depicting Jeanne Lanvin and her daughter holding hands is displayed on the round bottle in black opaque glass created by Armand Rateau. It became the ultimate symbol of Jeanne’s love for her daughter.
It was awarded by her friend Sacha Guitry, who sang her praises and highlighted the accomplishments of this exceptional designer.
In her own subtle way, this pioneer had revolutionised the relationship between art and fashion, style and lifestyle. The power of her brand in France and overseas heralded a new era of great brands and their empires.
Jeanne the dressmaker, seamstress, decorator, perfume manufacturer, “Madame” as she was known by her staff, left behind an empire.
Her daughter, Marie-Blanche de Polignac, slipped the first Louis d’Or that her mother had earned into her hands, unmoving for the first time.
In 2001, the Lanvin house was sold to business woman and philanthropist, Mrs Shaw Lan Wang. Under her tutelage, Lanvin remained independent and held onto its precious family spirit.
His idealistic and sentimental approach to fashion, his love for women and his desire for perfection powered by his imagination are just some of the elements he has in common with Jeanne Lanvin. The presentation of his first catwalk show for the 2002 Autumn-Winter collection signified complicity and fidelity and will go down in fashion history.
A close collaboration was born between the two designers. A real creative osmosis took place, and the identity of the Lanvin man was soon achieved with serenity and intensity. Lucas Ossendrijver’s close attention to detail and his connection with the material has significantly developed the language of shapes making up the Lanvin male alphabet. “Quality and a pleasure to wear fuelled by inventiveness,” is how Ossendrijver describes his creativity with Lanvin Menswear.
This first Paris retrospective devoted to Jeanne Lanvin features over a hundred models from the amazing collections of the Palais Galliera and the Lanvin Heritage. A capacity for hard work and an intuitive understanding of the modern world only partly explain the extraordinary success of this discreet woman. The Lanvin House and the Palais Galliera invite you to an encounter with this great lady of haute couture
from March, the 8th to August, the 23rd 2015.
PALAIS GALLIERA, CITY OF PARIS FASHION MUSEUM
10 avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, Paris 16e
On the occasion of her first pre-collection for Lanvin, Bouchra Jarrar imagines an ideal and seasonal apparel, faithful to the couture and modern spirit of Jeanne Lanvin.
The new creative director of Lanvin’s woman lines draws a distinctive taste for simple and pure silhouettes out of the fashion house’s history. The collection sublimates the woman without ever going against her personality.
Intuitive and exacting, Bouchra Jarrar creates a timeless wardrobe for the modern woman, away from fast fashion and suitable for every occasion.