Lanvin, the brand story Featured

The historic Parisian maison moves into the future with Alber Elbaz

When Jeanne Lanvin first opened her hat shop in 1889, all she really wanted to do was dress her beloved daughter in the best..but alas she was destined for far greater. As ther small business took off, Lanvin opened her first dress shop in 1909. Soon enough, the young designer was dressing an impressive number of Parisiennes in her perfectly cut, awe-inspiring dresses. 

Jeanne Lanvin

Experimenting with Victorian-inspired empire cuts, shirt-dresses and long tunics, Lanvin added pearls, embroidery and unusual fabrics that she would pick up on one of her many trips. More than fashion itself, she wanted Lanvin to become a lifestyle brand and in the space of a few years, she launched Lanvin Decoration, Lanvin Fragrances and Lanvin Sport. She even set up a dye workshop to create the brand’s signature ‘Lanvin blue’ colour. Always with a finger firmly on the pulse, she surrounded herself with artists and intellectuals, and was constantly aware of changes in society. More than anything, she knew how to cater to the needs of women.

From past to present

Following her death in 1946, Lanvin's daughter took the reins of the maison for a number of years. Acquired by L’Oreal in 1996, Lanvin was later purchased by Madame Shaw-Lan Wang in 2001. That year marked the arrival of current artistic director Alber Elbaz.

At the helm of Lanvin, Elbaz injected the brand with a femininity and grace that we have continued to see evolve over the years. He demonstrates an understanding of the essence of the brand: that a woman should always feel comfortable, regardless of the cut or style of what she’s wearing. Elbaz is also a great storyteller who adds poetry, humour and fantasy to his designs. “Fashion is important because it allows us to create our own stories and dream. Without dreams there is nothing to live for,” he famously declared.

Even the windows of Lanvin’s flagship stores are all signed off by Elbaz, while Lanvin’s fashion shows are proof of his boundless imagination and creative process. As he celebrates ten years at  Lanvin, his shows continue to be one of the rare few which frequently receives a standing ovation.

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