Balenciaga

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Cristóbal Balenciaga, admired by Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy or Coco Chanel, was one of the greatest couturiers of all times; in his words: “a couturier must be an architect for design, a sculptor for shape, a painter for colour, a musician for harmony and a philosopher for temperance”.

Was born in Getaria (Basque Country) and raised by his mother, Martina, because of the early death of his father, who was a fisherman. She introduced him in the couture world due to her job of seamstress for important families. When he was a teenager he met the Marchioness de Casa Torres and she became his patron and customer. He started his training period in San Sebastian in well-known establishments like Casa Gómez or New England and then in Au Louvre department store in San Sebastian, which have him the opportunity to know Paris and the most famous Maisons.

In 1917 he opened his first boutique named C.Balenciaga in San Sebastian and in a very short period of time he gained a lot of prestige among Spanish and European royalty and upper classes. In 1927 set up a new company focused on the traditional high couture called Eisa Couture.

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Because of the Civil War he was forced to move to Paris and his activity decreased, but on July 1937 he formed BALENCIAGA Company and on August he presented his first high couture collection, which had a lot of success. Two years later, was released a collection based on the XVII century fashion and on the Second French Empire. Moreover, one of the dresses that had a major favourable outcome was “Infanta” dress. It has to be said that he reinterpreted characteristic details typical of traditional Spanish fashion, such as gowns made with rich embroideries and braids, made references to the pictorial world.

1947 was the release date of the brand first perfume, Le Dix. As fashion is concerned, during the late forties and the early fifties he opted for volume and fluid lines instead of corsets. He presented the tonneau (barrel) line, which introduced a half-fitted suit with volume on the back and fitted on the front. In the mid-fifties launched the tunic, a two-piece dress of straight lines and in 1957 the sack dress. A year later, in 1958, he presented the baby doll dress and the peacock tail dresses. His creations were a revolution on the fashion industry of the moment and he was soon recognized the “king of the high couture”.

Balenciaga changed the lines of the suits and established short jackets and high waist pieces. Even his sport style was marked by elegance. His sure bets were low heel, skirts below the knees or quarter length sleeves.

In 1968 he retired after presenting his last collection and announced the closure of the Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian boutiques. Cristóbal Balenciaga died soon after, in 1972, and the brand remained on the obscurity.

Michel Goma tried to recover the brand in 1987 launching a prêt-à-porter line, but it doesn’t achieve the successful he expected. Five years later, Josephus Melchior Thimister presented another prêt-à-porter line based exclusively on black and ink blue, but again, it doesn’t receive excellent reviews from the fashion industry. Since the retirement and death of Balenciaga, the fashion brand lived thanks to its past glory and the perfumes.

1997 was the year that Nicolás Ghesquière arrived to the maison, and his first collections were characterized by black and the volume, following the origins of the brand. But the maximum success of the designer arrived in 2008 with his little dress and the two-pieces with floral print and puffy sleeves. Ghesquière wanted to transmit a new avant-garde image, renewing the spirit of the maison. He left the brand in 2012 and Alexander Wang took the design leadership and he received good reviews, but after the spring-summer 2016 collection the American designer announced his departure. Demna Gvasalia, from Vêtements, is the new creative director of Balenciaga.

 

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Reinterpretation of Balengiaga’s design made by Ghesquière
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Alexander Wang

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Maison Valentino

Maison Valentino was established in 1960 in Rome. Valentino Garavani was de fashion designer that founded the brand with his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti. Everything started with the age of 17, he decided to move to Paris to follow his hobby in the École des Beaux-Arts. After that he worked in two important houses; Jacques Fath and Balenciaga, where he took the experience to found after his own company in Via Condotti, Rome.

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His first collection was on 1961 and he presented 120 models. But one of his famous collections is the White Collection launched in 1968; after, Jackie Kenedy bought one of this white dresses for her wedding dress. It’s important to mention that the first Valentino’s perfume was launched in 1978 with the name Valentino Classique. 

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 Important icons from the brand are; it initial V that was in all prêt-à-porter collections since 1968.  Zebra, giraffe and leopard prints are another symbol from this house. And of course we cannot omit the fantastic colour that he felt in love in a trip through Spain; red. As he said Red possibilities are infinitive so it’s definitely the colour that defines him. In general, we can define his designs as unique and special. The main characteristics of the brand are emphasizing the femininity body, luxury fabrics, the quality and the finished touches, but in general; conservative is the perfect word to describe it.  Bows, flounces and organza are others typical characteristics.

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In 1998 the founder sold the brand but he continued being the creative director. But in 2008 he decided to retire; leaving a good impression on the fashion world with his last catwalk. Nowadays his bran is in 90 countries. The current Creative Directors since October 2008 are Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. There is a film of Valentino’s life made it on 2009 called The Last Emperor. In 2011 Valentino made a collection with the known Spanish house Puig and launch Valentina; the fusion of Valentino V and Rock and Rose.  And finally, in 2012, a company from State of Qatar bough the total control of the Maison.

Nowadays, Valentino offers a wild range of luxury products from Haute Couture and Prêt-à-porter like bags, shoes, belts, eyewear’s, perfumes and much more things.

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Max Mara

achille-maramotti_1212-profileAchielle Maramotti founded Max Mara house.  He was born in Italy 1927 and he received a law degree but at the age of 29 he decided to begin designing clothes. He used to copy the outfits that he could saw on magazines and with that he had his first exit and let him create his own brand in 1951. The name of the house comes from a diminutive of his name “Mara” but “Max” is a superlative to strength the brand’s name and gives to it an international fell. It has to be said that the house started with the name of Confezioni Maramotti but it became popular with Max Mara. Known designers as Franco Moschino, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Karl Lagerfeld, Dolce&Gabanna, Narciso Rodríguez has worked in the brand house.

 The house started with woman high quality clothes but was specialized in coats. It iconic garment is the 101801 Coat. Anne Marie Beretta created a double-breasted camel coat with clean cuts and beautiful kimono sleeves in mixed cashmere wool on the 80’s; it is offered in every winter collection without modification. It costs 1.200€. As Nicola Gerber Maramotti said, the expansion of the firm director; Camel colour is the new black. Is the symbol of the Maison.

The house, since it beginning, bet for quality and creativity clothes made by a family business with an international project. It also supports the art and culture with creation of different premiums including ART PRIZE FOR WOMEN. This Museums aims to encourage and support emerging women artists who live and work in UK. 15.artp_pe10_news-large copia

Nowadays has 23 collections; someone’s are Max & Co, SportMax, Marina Rinaldi or Pennyblack. And of course has it bridal collection. Has created perfumes, accessories and has more than 2.300 shops in 105 countries of the world. Max&CO was founded in 2013 with the intention to be for young public with low purchasing power and SportMax to young women who wanted to individualise their look. Marina Rinaldi was the name of the great-grandmother creator.

In 1989 was launched the MMmagazine. And in 2008 in Germany it was launched in the Kurlture forum from Berlin an exhibition called “Coats! Max Mara, 55 years of Italian Fashion” which celebrated MM’s history and futures Coats from MM achieves. And there was another in Moscú where all the coats, also the famous ones as Trench, Gabán and 101801, from the brand where exposed.

Max Mara is one of the most important fashion houses of the world. It has a realistic and comprehensive sense of fashion. It’s important to mention that Achielle Maramotti was the precursor of the current concept Ready-to-wear applying an industrial production process. The company is still nowadays owned by Maramotti Family.

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Zuhair Murad

Zuhair Murad, one of today’s best-known couturiers, was born in 1971 in Baalbek; zuhair-muradLebanon. At the age of ten he started sketching dresses. Later he moved to Paris to study fashion design, art, design and dressmaking. He became known among high society so immediately, in 1995, he opened his first boutique in his hometown. His clientele was private. In 2001 he began the Atelier Show Room in Rome and in Paris he presented his first Couture collection during Haute Couture Week. In the following year he presented his first Prêt-à-porter collection in the Milan Fashion Week; there he had his decisive success.

 

In 2006 he made a collaboration with the Spanish brand Mango; all the outfits where for parties.

In 2007 he inaugurated his Parisian Maison de Couture. In 2012 he made a specific product line with Rosa Clara, an Spanish bridal brand.

And finally in 2014 he officially opened his bridal boutique. The first Zuhair Murad Ready-to-wear collection made by contemporary lines it was presented in 2015.

 

 The main characteristics from his garments are embroidery with tattoo effects, crystal and jewels; and each one has a baroque inspiration. As he said in an interview; paintings inspired him. He admires the female silhouette. Each of his pieces are unique and reflect his idea of beauty. Harmonious cuts, precious materials, elegant silhouettes and the top of femininity are the common aspects from his clothes. His creations make us remember the ones from Ellie Saab.

 

Many artist has wear one of his garments. Some examples are Chrsitina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez in the Golden Globe Awards in 2011; Ameera al-Taweel from Arabia SAudita in the wedding of Prince William and Catherine; and we can’t forget Kristen Steward and Sofia Vergara.

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Chloé

pt_gaby_aghion__collection_gaby_aghion_jpg_5076_north_1024x_whiteGabrielle Hanoka, best know as Gaby Aghion, was a fashion designer born in Alexandria, Egypt 1921 and founder of Chloé. She and her husband moved to Paris in 1945 and in 1952 launched Chloé. Gaby Aghion wanted to create an alternative to Haute Couture and to leave behind the stiff and sober designs; fine fabrics and soft and feminine clothes were her bets, but always keeping a high quality level.

The first collection of the French maison was launched in 1956 at Café de Flore, where young intellectuals like Picasso, Sartre or Camus used to go. French femininity emerged from the garments, which had a bohemian and retro inspiration at the same time as sophistication.

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In the sixties Aghion hired Karl Lagerfeld and in 1966 he became the designer in chief of Chloé. Lagerfeld’s designs followed the guidelines established by Gaby Aghion and soon became a reference for those Parisian bohemians of the moment. In 1975 was launched the first fragrance of the brand, called Chloé.

stellaA few years later Karl Lagerfeld left the maison and began a period full of changes. Gaby Anhion had run the house until 1985 when Dunhill Holdings bought it. In 1993 it became part of the Vendôme conglomerate. Soon after, in 1997, Stella McCartney, daughter of the Beatle Paul McCartney, became creative director of the maison.
Firstly nobody took her seriously but things changed when her fist collections was introduced, which consisted on an update of the French look. Just as a curiosity, the song she chose for the fashion show was All You Need is Love from The Beatles. Thanks to Stella’s friends, as Kate Moss or actress Liv Tyler, the brand became more and more popular.

In 2001 she left the French House in order to create his own brand and Stella was succeeded by Phoebe Philo, her assistant. That same year was introduced See by Chloé, a younger lichloe-eau-de-toilette-2848ne. The next year, Bracelet, one of the most iconic bags of the maison, was launched and the first shop in London was opened. Although Phoebe had a lot of success in 2004 she left and Paulo Melim, a Portuguese designer, became the creative director in 2006. In the mid time, in 2005 Paddington bag was introduced. Paulo wanted to do an about-turn and leave behind the vintage spirit of the House, which would became the reason why Hanna MacGibbon replaced him. During the Paulo Melim’s period were created another two perfumes: Chloé Eau de Perfume (2007) advertised by Chloë Sevigny, Clémence Poésy and Anja Rubik, and Love (2010).

As it was said before, in 2011 Hanna MacGibbon took the management of the creative department but soon after she quitted and Clare Waight Keller replaced her. She has returned the bohemian and chic look from the seventies to Chloé.

 

 

 

 

Elie Saab

Elie Saab is native to Lebanon, born in 1964. His passion for fashion began at the age of 9, making dresses for his sisters and being self-taug1210698514_1ht. In 1981 he went to Paris to study fashion but the following year, at the age of 18, he returned to Beirut where he created his label and opened his first couture atelier contrary to his parents wish. He had a dozen of employees working for him and in the following months he presented his first collection. His reputation grew quickly and son his fame spread beyond Beirut’s borders and high-society woman desired Elie Saab dresses. His style is known for updating the oriental essence using noble materials as organza, taffeta or satin paired with light and fluid fabrics or lace.

He was thedurante-la-coronacion-de-rania-de-jordania-en-1999 first non-italian to become part of the Camera Nazionale della Moda (1997) and the same year he showed his collection in Rome, the first time out of Beirut. In 1998 presented his ready-to-wear collection in Milan and made a fashion show in Monaco, which was attended by Princess Stépahni of Monaco. One of the most highlighted moments was when Queen Rania of Jordan chose Elie Saab to wear for her enthronement in 1999. Since then he define her as his “muse and friend” with a “great sense of style, kind and generous”.

But his international success arrived when Halle Berry, dressed by Elie Saab, won an Oscar in 2002; he became the first Lebanese designer to dress an Oscar winner. That night was a turning point. He began to be interviewed and appeared on many TV networks and celebrities started to wear his creations. Some of the famous people or celebrities he has dress are Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Angelina Jolie, Celine Dion, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Eva Green, Emma Watson Diane Kruger amongst others.

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Elie Saab became a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in March 2003 and in July launched his first haute couture collection in Paris. 2006 was the year when he introduced the first prêt-à-porter collection in Paris (Spring-Summer ‘06); since then, Paris is the city for the ready-to-wear runway. In 2007 opened a boutique in Le Triangle d’Or. As fragrances is concerned, in 2011 was launched his first one called “Le Parfum” wich became bestseller in 15 countries.

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His designs are focused on highlight feminity using high-quality fabrics and delicate embroideries, based on sophistacation. He also has a bridal collection in collaboration with Pronovias. Nowadays counts with boutiques located all over the world, for example in Beirut, Mexico, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Moscow, London, Geneva or Dubai.

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Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Malletrier, best known as Louis Vuitton, is a FrenchPortrait-Louis-Vuitton fashion house founded in 1854 by Luis Vuitton on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris.Luis Vuitton was born in 1821 in Anchay in a working-class family but at the age of 13 he left home and travelled during two years in order to arrive to Paris. He finally arrived in 1837, when he was 16. Once in the city, that was suffering changes due to the Industrial revolution, Vuitton worked as an apprentice with a successful box-maker and packer, Monsieur Marechal, and soon he acquired a good reputation amongst fashionable Parisians.

In 1854, as it was said before, he opened his first workshop and in 1858 he launched a revolutionary rectangular shaped trunks, “Trianon”. This trunk was lighter and much more hermetic. It has to be said that during that time the tops of the trunks used to be rounded. This new package soon attracted to the people and it achieved a high demand, which allowed the expansion of the maison and caused a high level of imitations. A few years after, in 1876, in order to avoid counterfeit he changed the design of the “Trianon” trunk to a beige and brown stripes pattern.

The first store of the brand in London was opened in 1885 on Oxford Street and just three years after it was created the Damier Canvas pattern because of the huge amount of imitations. In the pattern one could read “L.Vuitton déposée”, that means “L.Vuitton registered tradHistory_TrunkDamieremark”. Soon after the founder died (1892) and his son took the management of the maison. As a curiosity, during the Napoleon’s III Empire Louis Vuitton was hired as personal box-maker and packer of the Empress of France, Spanish countess Eugenie de Montijo, who provided him royal clients and from other elites.

 

1896 was an important year, they took out the patent and the monogram was finally launched. It consisted of quatrefoils, flowers and the LV monogram from Japanese and oriental inspiration of the Victorian Era. The patent allowed dropping the imitation rate.

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A new century had started and with it a new piece of luggage was introduced, the Streamer Bag (1901), which was smaller and thought to be kept inside the luggage trunks. By the time of the World War I there were stores all around the world: New York, Washington, Buenos Aires, Alexandria, Bombay and London. Throughout the thirties were launched the Keepall bag (1930); the Noé bag (1932), made for champagne vintners to transport bottles; and the Speedy bag.

Georges Vuitton died in 1936 leaving his son Gaston-Louis Vuitton in charge. During the World War II, period when the maison collaborated with the Nazis during the French occupation of the Germans, leather was introduced into most of its products, such as wallets, purses or pieces of luggage. The Papillon was brought out in 19papillon66 and nowadays is still remaining popular. A year later two stores were opened in Japan, in Tokyo and Osaka. Later on its presence in Asia was extended with new stores in Taipei (1983) and Seoul (1984). The Epi leather line was introduced the following year, in 1985. Two years later Moët Chandon, Hennessy and Louis Vuitton joined to form the luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH.

The new decade brought a new president, Yves Carcelle, a new store in Beijing and new products: in 1993 was introduced the Taiga leather line and in 1994 the literature collection of Voyager Avec… Marc Jacobs became the Artistic Director of the brand in 1997, who in march of the following year designed the maison’s first line of “prêt-à-porter”. Moreover he introduced the Monogram Vernis line, the LV scrapbooks and the Louis Vuitton City Guide. In 1999 was released a mini monogram line.

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2001 was marked by the collaboration of Stephen Sprouse and Marc Jacobs to create a limited-edition line of bags that consisted of graffiti that reads Louis Vuitton –and, on certain bags, the name of it- over the monogram pattern. The same year was introduced the charm bracelet, the first piece of jewellery of the brand. The following year it was launched the Tambour watch collection and in 2003 Takashi Murakami and Marc Jacobs designed de new Monogram Multicoloured canvas range of handbags and accessories. Takashi Murakami was the mastermind of the Cherry Blossom pattern.

The 150th anniversary was celebrated in 2004, the same year that the Fifth Avenue store was inaugurated, and in 2005 the Champs-Élysées store was reopened and the Speedy watch collection was introduced. Three years later was released the Damier Graphite canvas, a redesign of the original one featuring black and grey pattern. Also in 2008 Pharrel Williams co-designed Blason, a series of jewellery and glasses. Kim Jones was presented in 2011 as the Men prêt-à-porter Studio and Style Director, and Darren Spaziani runs the accessory collection since 2013, the same that year Marc Jacobs leaved the brand and was substituted by Nicolas Ghesquière as Artistic Director.

Nowadays Louis Vuitton is one of the most valuable brand in the world and one of the most counterfeited that designs trunks and leather goods, ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewellery, accessories and sunglasses amongst others. Each year is released a limited edition bags as well as collaborations with another artists or designers, for example Yayoi Kusama who created the “Infinitely Kusama” collection in 2012.

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In its marketing campaigns had appeared Keith Richards, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, Gisele Bündchen, Sean Connery and David Bowie

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Balmain

The well-known fashion brand Balmain was created by Pierre Balmain, born in 1914 in Saboie. His father ownedPierre Balmain a drapery business and his mother ran a fashion boutique with her sisters. He began studying architecture at the École de Beaux-Arts in 1933 and at the same time he worked as a freelance drawing for Rober Piguet. A year later he started working for Edward Molyneux for five years, and during de war he joined Lucien Lelong for the next two years, where he met Christian Dior.

His own House was created in 1945 and the same year was launched his first collection, characterized by long bell-shaped skirts with small waists, a style that in 1947 became popular as part of Dior’s New Look. Gertrude Stein, a poetess, defined Pierre’s Collections as the French New Look. It has to be said that Pierre Balmain with Christian Dior were the symbols of the New Look’s generation, a style that caused a revolution after the Second World War, leaving back austerity and creating voluminous garments and refined fabrics. Therefore, Balmain was one of the most important haute couture fashion houses during a post-war époque.

Piere Balmain also created perfumes. In 1947 was aired Vent Vert, the most successful one during the forties and early fifties. Another was Jolie Madame in 1953 or Ivorie, in 1979.

The maison became international in 1951, when he opened a shop in New York where ready-to-wear clothes where sold. The biggest success was to know how to give to the American clothes the French style. During the fifties became popular the stole, to wear during the day as well as the night, and the cossak like wraps and capes. This decade represents his golden age, when he reached successful results knowing how to create simple tailored suits and spectacular evening gowns, but always keeping the elegance and the sophistication of a classical style knowing how to suit the female body. It’s important emphasize one of his famous quotes with reference to the couture art: “Dressmaking is the architecture of movement”. Another features of Pierre Balmain’s designs were eventful skirts embellished with embroidered leaves or cherries, dresses made taking care of all the details, drapery, bows across the shoulder or fur in hoods, muffs or trims. Therefore, he had a refined aesthetic but it remained luxurious and opulent.

In addition, Balmain also created costumes for some film stars, such as Vivien Leigh, Mae West, Brigitte Bardot or Sophia Loren. Some of his faithful clients were Katherine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, the Queen Sirkit of Thailand or Hope Portocarrero, the Nicaraguan first lady. Nowadays stars like Angeline Jolie, Penélope Cruz or Kate Moss, still remain loyal to Balmain’s vintage gowns.

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Pierre hired young fashion promises before they have become famous, for example Gerard Pipart, John Cavanagh or a young Karl Lagerfeld after judging a fashion competition where the Austrian designer won.

Revlon acquired the perfumery line in 1960 and the French House entered in an instability period after Pierre Balmain’s death in 1982, when Erik Mortensen, his right hand, took the lead of the brand. Erik updated and developed Pierre’s style and won twice the French Haute Couture Golden Thimble Award, ten for his Autumn-Winter 1983/1984 collection and another for his Autumn-Winter 1987/1988 collection. He was replaced by Herve-Pierre and in 1993 Oscar de la Renta arrived to the maison and left in 2002. He had a style similar to Pierre Balmain’s, preferring simple and classical designs. De la Renta got the Haute Couture of the brand back on its feet after a bad period for Couture. In 2005 Chritophe Decarnin joined Balmain but his style contrasted with the classical one that always had reign in the maison, wanting to bring the brand to the 21st century. Olivier Rousteing, who worked for the label since 2009, rUnknowneplaced him in 2011. Rousteing has added a fresh touch to the aesthetic of the brand, where we can see an Asian and retro influence bringing back the glitter and glitz, but, moreover, he wants to focus the brand “on the finer aspects of the French Couture”. Oliver’s train of admirers include the Kardashians, Rihanna, Beyoncé or some Victoria’s Secret’s models.

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On november 2015 Balmain presented a collaboration with H&M. The collection included 110 pieces that were an homage to the biggest successes of the brand of the last three years. The pieces have a very specific style: an eighties essence with shoulder pads or gold buttons or appliqués and a love for the excess represented in vibrant and metallic colours or reptile skin effect. It was a total revolution with its own name, #HMBalmaination.

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Lanvin

Probably all of us will have seen somewhere the iconic logo of the brand; but we don’t know the history of this glamorous mark. Jeanne Lanvin wasJeanne Lanvin born in a poor family in 1867. She was the eldest of her eleven siblings. After working in a hat shop in Barcelona, with just 22 years old she decided to open her first boutique in Paris, 1889. As the known Coco Chanel, she started doing hats and in her free time she used to do each clothes of her beloved daughter; Marguerite Marie-Blanche, who was her main source of inspiration. These designs were sophisticated and attractive. The mothers of her classmates started to order clothes for her daughters like the ones that used to wear Marie-Blanche. After that, the mothers started to order copies of the clothes to match with their children. She was the first designer to create a children’s clothing collection and in 1908 opened a “Children’s Outfits” department; a year later opened a department for “Young girls and Young Ladies”. Finally, in 1909, she entered in the Chambre Syndicale of the Haute Couture of Paris; this involved worldwide recognition and notoriety. The same year the maison appeared for the first time in Vogue.

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With regard to the logo, in 1907 Jeanne Lanvin and her daughter Marguerite Marie-Blanche attended a costumed ball, both in matching gowns and hats, and the moment was immortalized in a famous photograph. Paul Iribe (noted illustrator, decorator and costumier) created the logo based on that photograph. Later on, it was reworked by Armand Rateau and was placed above the inscription “Jeanne Lanvin”.

The style of the maison evolved at the same time Marguerite was growing and becoming a woman. In the twenties her designs were characterized by the simplicity and the use of colours, in fact she created a dye factory in 1923 for her own designs where it was produced the characteristic “Lanvin blue”. Although, for Jeanne Lanvin black was a symbol for elegance and sophistication. Moreover, she used complex trimmings, virtuoso embroideries and decorations, a style that was against the contemporary flapper style . In the same decade, the brand diversified its activity creating lingerie, home décor, furs, menswear (1926) and perfumes. Lanvin Parfums SA was created in 1924 and a year later was released “My Sin”, a fragrance based on heliotrope, and in 1927 was launched Arpège, her signature fragrance inspired by her daughter practicing scales on the piano.

A trademark of the maison is the Robes de Style (1920s), an alternative to the flapper and garçonne dresses of the period. It has a sculptural silhouette and it is characterized by its dropped waist and wide skirt, inspired by the 18th century court dresses. Lanvine, nowadays, continues reinventing it.

During the twenties and thirties her collections were clearly influenced by art and different paintings. Jeanne was looking for innovation and improvement, creating avant-garde designs but maintaining the designs delicate and filmy. Moreover, Lanvin introduced the over-the-ankle dresses, a revolution for her era. After all that, her clients were the queens from Italy and Romania and also the upper-middle classes. It has to be said that in 1936 Jeanne Lanvin received the Légion d’Honneur, the highest decoration of the French State.

In 1946, when Jeanne Lanvin died, her daughter took the role of the brand along with a cousin and a fashion industry. At the death of Marguerite Marie-Balnche in 1958, Yves Lanvin got the ownership of the maison due to the fact that Marguerite was childless. In 1994 L’Oréal acquired the 50% of the House and in 1996 the 100%, which was mainly dedicated to perfumery. Nevertheless, in 2001 Lanvin became private again due to the acquirement of magnate Mrs. Shaw-Lan Wang. The same year Alber Elbaz became the artistic director for all activities of Lanvin after being dismissed from Yves Saint Laurent. In 2006, Lucas Ossendrijver was in charge of the men’s line. Alber Elbaz returned the splendour to aAlberPortrait-450x375 concrete garment, the dress. For him, everything turns around the dress: the colours, the materials, the shapes, etc… Nevertheless, the colours are not left to chance. He created designs with flounces, pleats or voluminous sleeves that were renewed every season. But he finished the looks with earrings, necklaces or brooches. As the packaging is concerned, Alber Elbaz introduced a new one featuring a light forget-me-not blue colour, shopping bags imprinted with Paul Iribe’s 1907 illustration of Jeanne Lanvin and her daughter and shoe boxes like antique library files tied with black ribbons.

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We can’t forget the “happy” Lanvin bag, one of the house’s bag designs that consist of a simple flap and a grosgrain ribbon on the chain strap with an oversize bow. Every season is redesigned with different colours and materials. It is feminine, elegant and versatile.

In 2010 Lanvin made a capsule collection for H&M. Alber Elbaz said: “My intention is to join the beauty with modern”. The collection was characterized by drapery, volume, asymmetric shoulders and a lot of color. Here you can see the commercial.

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On October 2015, Lanvin announced that Alber Elbaz was no longer at the maison.

 

 

Givenchy

Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy, best known as Huber Taffin de Givenchy, was born in 1927 in Beauvais, Oise and was raised in an aristocrat atmosphere. The artistic blood was in his family veins, and at the age of seventeen he moved to Paris to study at the École de Beaux-Arts. His firsts works for the fashion industry were for Jacques Fath, and later he worked for Robert Piguet, Lucien Lelong and Elsa Shiaparelli.

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In 1952 he took the decision to open his own brand, the House of Givenchy. His first collection was named Les Séparables and the most iconic piece was the Bettina Blouse, in honour of Bettina Graziani, a Parisian model. This shirt was painted in one of Gruau’s painitngs. His style was innovating, the opposite to conservative style of Dior. Les Séparables was praised by Vogue magazine, The New York Times and l’Album du Figaro.

As fabrics is concerned, the first used by Hubert were cheap fabrics but the designs always stood out because of the originality. He innovated also in this aspect, using “shirting” (raw cotton) to create more casual collections.

In 1954 he created the first women prêt-à-porter collection by a high fashion designer, called “Givenchy Universté”, produced in Paris using American machinery and in 1957 introduced the “Sack dress”, an evolution of the “Shirt dress”. A year later, came out his iconic “Balloon coat” and “Baby Doll” dress. All of three pieces were loose-fitting but that does not mean Hubert did not know how to highlight the feminine figure.

The first perfume of the maison, L’Interdit, was launched in 1957 but for exclusively for Audrey Hepburn’s use and then she became the image of the fragrance. It was the first time ever an actress advertised a perfume. Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn met by the time she was filming Sabrina because he was in charge to do her costumes. It all started with Sabrina (1954), but she wore Givenchy designs at Love in the Afternoon (1957), Funny Face (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Charade (1963), Paris When it Sizzles (1963), How to Steel a Million (1965) and Bloodline (1979).

Back in 1953, Hubert met Cristóbal Balenciaga; it was the beginning of a very long friendship. For him, Balenciaga was an inspiration and his mentor. Just as a curiosity, he boosts the Balenciaga Museum, in Guetaria (Basque Country), inaugurated in 2011, and donated his personal collection of “balenciagas”. Furthermore, also in 1953, on July to be precise, Liz Benn appeared on the cover of Vogue wearing a Givenchy swimsuit.

The first line for men was launched in 1969 and was called “Givenchy Man” and two years later designed a collection of embroidered coats as homage to George Braque and Joan Miró. During the seventies Givenchy added shoes, jewels and ties to its products. Moreover, Hubert de Givenchy designed the interiors of Hilton Hotels all around the world and a car, the Lincoln Continental Mark V. Givnehcy Inc. arrived at Fifth Avenue in 1976.

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Eventhough in 1981 the maison was divided in two parts because of the acquisition of Veuve Clicquot of the perfumery line, in 1989 the fashion line was sold to the LVMH and nowadays is the owner of Parfums Givenchy, too.

After 43 years of excellent designs and a great success, in 1995 Hubert de Givenchy decided to leave the brand and it took the command John Galliano but he left soon to go to Dior, being succeeded by Alexander McQueen, who was in charge of the artistic department until 2001. Then Julien MacDonald became the Artistic Director and two years later was Ozwald Boateng the successor, who was the responsible of the men line until 2006 developing the male style of the French brand based on British touches, keeping the elegance and classicism of this style. In 2005 women line was given to Riccardo Tisci and in 2009 the male one. Tisci is characterized by the aristocrat elegance that his designs adopt. Moreover, he widened the chromatin palette of the brand, adding, for example, baby blue, red blood, floral prints, metal or flashy colours. Those were not the only things he has changed; he has added a sensual romanticism touch, updating the legacy of Hubert; the image of the maison. Nevertheless, he maintains the uncluttered designs.

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Innumerable celebrities have worn Givenchy designs. Some of them are Audrey Hepburn, as we said before, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Maria Callas, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Madonna and much more.

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As a last curiosity, for the first time in fashion industry, Riccardo Tisci featured a transsexual model, Lea.T (Leo Cerezo, a Brazilin boy who was the designer’s personal assistant for a few years), for the Fall 2010 collection.

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