PARIS — The first retrospective exhibition in Paris dedicated to Jeanne Lanvin at the Palais Galliera next year is to feature more than 100 outfits from the museum’s collection and Lanvin archives.
This story first appeared in the December 5, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Revealing preliminary details about the showcase, scheduled for March 8 to Aug. 23, Lanvin said its designer, Alber Elbaz, would provide artistic direction, while the museum’s director, Olivier Saillard, is general curator.
Academic advisers include Galliera’s Sophie Grossiord, and Laurence Le Bris is charged with the scenography. Swarovski has signed on as a partner with Nadja Swarovski, a member of the firm’s executive board, who pointed out that the Austrian crystal company was born in 1895, just six years after Jeanne Lanvin set up a millinery shop on the Rue Boissy d’Anglas in Paris, later branching out into women’s wear, children’s clothes, bridal fashions, lingerie, furs, interior decoration and men’s wear. Renowned for her drive and intuition, Lanvin died in 1946.
“The quality of execution of the dresses is quite incredible, and they epitomize French elegance,” Saillard said in an interview earlier this year. “There is a reason why Jeanne Lanvin had a thriving business. She was hugely popular with customers who didn’t want to wear creations that were too bold or ‘out there,’ and that is no discredit to her designs.”
He noted that Lanvin was one of the first designers to introduce exotic influences into fashion.
According to the museum, travel diaries, swatches of ethnic fabrics and art books fed her imagination. She adorned her dresses — some tubular, others in a more 18th-century style, with a slender bust, low waist and ample skirt — with ribbons, crystals, beads and silk tassels.
“Jeanne Lanvin was aristocratic, but in the pre-World War I sense,” Saillard said. “I consider Jeanne Lanvin’s dresses from the Thirties among the most beautiful in the history of fashion.”
Palais Galliera is a City of Paris museum, while Lanvin is billed as the oldest French fashion house still in business.