Designer Spotlight

Jeanne Lanvin, 1867-1946

Jeanne Lanvin began her career as a milliner in Paris in 1890, and later started the fashion house of Lanvin, the oldest Paris fashion house still in existance today.  She became known for the dresses she made for her daughter, Marie-Blanche.  Other mothers and young women wanted her designs for their own children and themselves.

She opened her clothing store in 1909, selling mother-daughter garments, and her “robes de style” designs.  The “robes de style” dress consisted of a nipped in waist and full skirt; 18th century designs with modern embellishments.  She was influential in bringing fashion such as Eastern styles to Paris, and the Chemise dress of the 1920’s, as well as innovations like the modern department store.  Her store was the first to dress the entire family in ready-to-wear clothing when she introduced a menswear department in 1926.  She dressed many celebrity clients including Marlene Dietrich, Mary Pickford, and royalty from Italy, Romania, and England.  Her impeccable craftsmanship and design has continued throughout the house’s existence since her death in 1946 through today, under the direction of chief designer Elber Albaz.

Madame Jeanne Lanvin has always kept the symbol that inspired her and her fashions in her label logo.  As seen in the label below, the left corner has an image of a mother kneeling in front of her daughter.  This dress also has an Henri Bendel label which notes which store of fashion boutique it was sold at.

1979-022-021label

This Black Lace Evening Dress is from 1930 is a part of the Museum of Texas Tech’s permanent collections.  The overlay is completely made of lace, with ruffled layers making up the skirt for a flowing effect.  There is a black silk shift, underlayer for lining.  The straps have a cream, silk ribbon woven through the lace.  An interesting design feature, the zipper is in the front of the bodice for decoration.

1979-022-021zipper

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