Jeanne Lanvin is a French fashion designer, born in 1876 in Brittany, France. She was born in a big family and was the eldest of ten. She received her first training as a fashion designer in a dressmaker’s house called Talbot. After that she continued as a milliner. Overall, she had a career that lasted 50 years, from the 1980’s up to after World War II when the so-called “new look” came.
Jeanne started her fashion career in 1890 by opening a millinery shop in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. She made hats and dresses from time to time (for her younger sisters and daughter). Lanvin soon drew attention, many mothers with daughters wanted to buy her designs and so she slowly gained popularity. It was 1909 and her business was booming. After some time, the rising demand for her designs enabled her to open a couture house for mother-daughter dresses that were both youthful and easy to wear.
In 1913 Lanvin introduced her “robes de style” dresses inspired by the 18thcenruty designs. These new, full skirted dresses were later a stepping stone for Dior and the “new look” the house introduced after World War II.
In 1914 Lanvin took an interesting turn in her designs. She became braver and started experimenting. Intrigued by the Orient, she started designing exotic evening wear with satins and velvet. During the 1920’s Lanvin made another design that served as an example for future designers.
In 1926 Lanvin expanded her business by starting her menswear line, thus she became the first designer to dress whole families.
The Second World War made a big blow on the Lanvin fashion house, as well as other houses, it managed to stay on top however.
Jeanne Lanvin, the pioneer of French fashion and a trend-setter, died in 1946. She was 79 years old at the time. Her daughter then took over the fashion house; she died in 1958, only 12 years later.