Celebrating 125 Years of Design. For upcoming anniversary events, visit us at: http://125ans.lanvin.com
How Jeanne Lanvin’s love for her daughter became the symbol of the oldest French couture house still in activity today.
What if the true history of the house of Lanvin was in front of our very eyes over the past 125 years?
In 1889, Jeanne Lanvin arrived at her new address on the corner of Rue Boissy d’Anglas and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, a mythical address which was to become that of her fashion house. In 1897, her only daughter Marguerite Marie Blanche was born and became her main source of inspiration, a miniature muse. “It was to amaze her that she amazed the world with her skill,” wrote Louise de Vilmorin of the unique connection between Jeanne and Marguerite. A mother’s unconditional love was to galvanize her creativity.
Was this fashion or love? The joy of motherhood was to suggest to the businesswoman a new field: children’s clothing. A spectacular wardrobe was created with Marguerite in mind, and Jeanne Lanvin had invented childrens’ fashion. Customers of the boutique and mothers of the other small girls attending her private school turned to the designer to create the same charming outfits for their own children.
In 1907, Jeanne Lanvin and Marguerite attended a costumed ball. The scene was immortalized with a famous photograph showing mother and daughter in their gowns with matching tiara-shaped hats, the mother’s decorated with a coiled false feather.
As customers ordered more and more designs for their own daughters, Jeanne Lanvin opened a “Children’s Outfits” department in 1908, followed by a “Young Girls and Young Ladies” department the next year. Lanvin joined the official “Syndicat de la couture” and became a member of the very exclusive world of the Couture houses. The Lanvin style was to evolve according to Marguerite’s own life as a girl and later as a woman.
The designer and businesswoman had the idea of using an image to represent her Couture house – a revolution in an age when designers signed their creations with their own name or “griffe”. In 1923, noted illustrator, decorator and costumier Paul Iribe captured the round movement of the 1907 photograph, stylizing the voluminous dresses and suggesting mother and daughter caught in a circular dance.
Later reworked by Armand Albert Rateau pour the round Arpège perfume bottle, this emblem placed above the inscription “Jeanne Lanvin” became the ultimate illustration of Jeanne’s love for her daughter.
It continues to accompany today’s Lanvin creations, creating the enduring spirit and emotion at the heart of the house.