In 1889, while working as a milliner at number 22, rue du Faubourg St Honoré, she was already thinking of founding her own fashion house.
Her dream came true in 1909. Far from slowing her down, the birth of her daughter Marguerite in 1897 fuelled her entrepreneurism.
She stayed away from society events, remaining discreet and apart, listening only to her own ambitions and feelings. She was well-attuned to the beat of her time; she understood its needs and created a perfect response.
She was thus able to impose her idea of fashion before fashion was even a concept, deploying different creative skills and diversifying her activities.
She directed her company wisely, letting nothing and nobody diminish her curiosity for contemporary arts, new forms, and the cultures of the world.
Her vision and dedication have carried the House into its second century.
An unprecedented lifespan, made possible by the way in which the essence of Lanvin has been passed down, ensuring that the company today is exactly what Jeanne Lanvin herself would have made it.
In Florence, Jeanne Lanvin gazed, transfixed, upon a Fra Angelico fresco.
Its remarkably intense quattrocento blue was to become her pet shade.
Subsequently enhancing her palette with Velazquez green, a homage to another great master, and Polignac pink, which she created for her daughter when she married the Count de Polignac.
Jeanne Lanvin always desired to create unique colours led her to set up her own dyeing workshop in Nanterre in 1923.
«She sewed to dazzle her daughter, and in so doing she dazzled the world.»
- It was in these terms that Louise de Vilmorin described Jeanne Lanvin’s love for Marguerite Marie Blanche, born in 1897. Her unconditional love for her daughter fired her creativity.
The mothers who bought these outfits were won over and soon demanded similar attire for themselves, leading to the launch of departments for Young Ladies and Women.
Furthermore, Arpège, Lanvin’s iconic perfume, was created in 1927 to celebrate Marie-Blanche’s 30th birthday, and today’s Blanche bridal wear collection also bears her name.
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he saw her creations a part of a wider dynamic that encompassed a wide range of fields, including interior decorating, perfume, lingerie, sportswear, furs, and menswear.
She inaugurated the brand principle and extended it across different product lines which together make up the Lanvin world.
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She was a discerning collector who appreciated the subtlety of Coptic and Chinese embroidery and the rich cultural heritage of Japan and Persia. And she poured it all back into contemporary fashion, adorning her creations with a magnificently artistic profusion of ribbons, velvet medallions, sequins and silk threaded embroideries.
In 1901, she designed an Académicien suit for Edmond Rostand, author of Cyrano. She dressed Yvonne Printemps (Madame Sacha Guitry), the silent movie star Mary Pickford, and the acclaimed writer Louise de Vilmorin. She worked with Armand – Albert Rateau on the interior design of the Daunou theatre, inaugurated in 1921. Her peerless artistic sensitivity and unerring sense of volume, composition and colour association have been universally acclaimed.
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
Exhibition Jeanne Lanvin at the Palais Galliera from March 8th to August 23rd
copyright Lanvin, photographer James Bort.