Lanvin, Jeanne (1867–1946)

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Lanvin, Jeanne (1867–1946)

French fashion designer and perfumer. Born in 1867; died on July 6, 1946; eldest of 11 children; children: Marguerite later known as Countess Marie-Blanche de Polignac (b. 1887).

Jeanne Lanvin, one of the foremost names in couture during the 1920s, was born in 1867. A French dress designer who is remembered primarily for her classic perfume, Arpege, Lanvin was trained as a seamstress and began her career in a milliner's house on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. In 1885, she opened her own work-room in a tiny studio apartment in Paris. Her small fashion house, La Maison de Couture, had its beginnings in a few simple dresses she stitched for her sister and daughter. Fashioned from plain fabrics to which she added quilting and embroidery, the designs caught on with her customers who began ordering them for themselves and their daughters. Hence, Lanvin was credited with the first mother-daughter outfits, although she later became known for her wedding gowns and robes de style as well.

In 1926, the designer opened a men's boutique (the first of its kind) and in 1927 created the perfume Arpege for her daughter Marie-Blanche de Polignac . A devotee of modern art, Lanvin enlisted Art Nouveau artist Paul Tribe to help design the packaging for her new product. From a photograph, Tribe created the famous mother-daughter image that adorns the top of the perfume bottle, which also became the logo for the fashion house. Lanvin was renowned for her sense of color, and found inspiration in her own art collection, which contained paintings by Vuillard, Renoir, Fantin-Latour, and Odilon Redon.

After Lanvin's death in 1946, her daughter Marie-Blanche de Polignac took over until 1958. The house, which continues, has included such designers as Spain's Antonio del Castillo (1950–1963) and Belgium's Jules-François Crahay (1963–1984), as well as Maryll Lanvin (1985–1989), wife of Bernard Lanvin, the son of Jeanne's nephew, and Claude Montana (1990–1992). Spanish designer Cristina Ortiz made her House of Lanvin debut in 1998.


Ehlert, Athena. "Arpege—The Gift of a Gifted Mother," in Victoria. May 1995, p. 42.