Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946) lived an extraordinarily modern life. Her biography reads like that of a present day fashion tycoon or a celebrity branching out into a vast array of different business ventures - although with what was apparently a very 'discreet' manner.

Beginning her career as a milliner in 1885, she soon moved into establishing her own shop 'Lanvin' (1889). From this point onwards, it appears as though Lanvin was an unstoppable force with original ideas and design twinned with entrepreneurial skill.


'Hitting on the new idea of children's clothes' shortly after opening her own store (her only daughter was apparently the main source of design inspiration) it did not take long for Lanvin to establish a young ladies' and women's department and enter into the closed world of French fashion houses. Departments for brides, lingerie and furs soon followed. As if that was not already enough, interior design, sport and menswear were soon on the table. It feels unnecessary to add, given how evidently impressive Jeanne Lanvin's career was, but her shops were not limited to Paris and opened in Deauville, Biarritz, Barcelona, Buenos-Aires, Cannes, and Le Touquet. Beyond her clear business abilities, her designs and influences - scraps of ethnic fabrics, travel and art books, also sound startlingly like something from a designer interview today.


(Jeanne with her daughter Marguerite, 1907)

Her name, brand and logo are still at the height of French fashion and this exhibition, made in close collaboration with Alber Elbaz (current artistic director of Lanvin) at The Palais Galliera should be nothing short of fascinating. March 8 to August 23

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