Sleeveless black silk dress from the Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection.
Fashion designer and feminist
Born rue Mazarine among eleven children in Paris in 1866 in a poor family - her father was a typist and her grandfather was famous for having helped Victor Hugo to escape during the Coup of December the 2nd - she starts working at the young age of 13 in a milliner's shop. Soon, she opens her first shop of her own in the rue Saint Honoré and sells mostly hats.
But then starts the big history of her life, and her principal source of inspiration: before divorcing from her first husband, she gives birth to her only child, Marguerite -or Daisy in English -. She could do anything for Marguerite and invents a brand-new style for children clothes. She uses new colors, such as the Polignac pink, the Velasquez green and of course the Lanvin blue, which becomes her brand image. She imagines also clothes for grown-ups and becomes very famous: Edmond Rostand even decides to order his academician costume from the Lanvin house in 1909.
Aware of the financial aspects of her business, she decides to launch a line of perfumes, to balance the cost of Haute Couture. Arpège is born, with of course a daisy flower on the bottle, one of the biggest successes in the perfume world.
Before dying in 1946, Jeanne Lanvin has secured a fashion empire. Lanvin remains the oldest French fashion house. Most of all, Jeanne Lanvin is recognized as a forerunner, a figure of feminist during times when a very few number of her peers could gain their autonomy.