Lanvin, French fashion designer, 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.
Lanvin was the eldest of 11 children. At age 16, she was an apprentice milliner at Madame Félix in Paris; then trained at dressmaker Talbot and, 1889, set up as a milliner at 22 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Jeanne Lanvin married the Henri-�?mile-Georges di Pietro and gave birth to a daughter, Marguerite, who became a talented opera singer and eventually became the director of the Lanvin fashion house. (1925, Marguerite married the Comte Jean de Polignac [Paris, June 11, 1888 - Paris, October 22, 1943] who rebaptised her to become the Comtess Marie-Blanche de Polignac [Paris, August 31, 1897 - Paris, February 14, 1958]). Jeanne Lanvin made such beautiful clothes for the child that they began to attract the attention of a number of wealthy people who requested copies for their own daughters. 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. 1909, Lavin joined the Syndicat de la Couture, which marked her formal status as a couturière.
1903, she divorced Pietro and, 1907, married Xavier Melet, a journalist at the Temps newspaper and later the French consul in Manchester.
From 1923, the Lanvin empire included a dye factory in Nanterre. 1920s, Lavin opened shops devoted to home decor, menswear, furs and lingerie, but 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's practising her scales on the piano.
Lanvin commissioned Albert-Armand Rateau (1884-1938) to decorate her apartment at 16 rue Barbet-de-Jouy, Paris, and villas at Vésinet. The living, 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 vert-de-gris bronze. 1921-22, Rateau was manager of Lanvin-Sport and also design the Lanvin spherical La Boule perfume flacon for Arpège of about 1925-34 (still produced, originally by the Manufacture Nationale de Sévres) is imprinted with Paul Iribe's gold image of 1907 of Lanvin and her daughter Marguerite. Rateau also designed Lanvin's fashion house and managed the Lanvin-Décoration department of interior design (established 1920) in the main store on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. (Mel Byars, 2004, p. 614.)
One of the most influential designers of the 1920s and '30s, Jeanne Lanvin's skilful 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 ceded to daughter Marie-Blanche, who shared management of the firm from 1942 with a cousin and then a fashion-industry expert. Because she was childless when she died in 1958, the ownership of the House of Lanvin went to a cousin, Yves Lanvin. (See Directors and Officiers Since Jeanne Lanvin below.)
The company has shuttled from here and there, beginning in March 1989 when Britain's Midland Bank bought a stake in the company from the family. The bank brought in Léon Bressler to revamp the firm's faded image. However, February 1990, Midland backed out and sold Lanvin to Orcofi, the French holding company led by the Vuitton family. From Orcofi, 50% of the House of Lanvin was acquired by L'Oréal in 1994, 66% in 1995 and 100% in 1996. Under L'Oréal's far-too-diverse umbrella, an array of CEOs who circulate within the French fashion industry directed the company.
August 2001, Lanvin, the oldest fashion house still in operation, was taken private again by investor group Harmonie S.A., headed by Mrs. Shaw-Lan Wang, a Taiwanese media magnate. And, October 2001, Alber Elbaz was appointed the Lanvin artistic director for all activities, including interiors, and he has conducted his responsibilities in a highly personal, hands-on manner. 2006, he introduced new packaging for the fashion house, featuring a forget-me-not flower color, Lanvin's favorite shade which she purportedly saw in a Fra Angelico fresco. (Suzy Menkes, 2005.)