Chamber of Secrets: Inside Jeanne Lanvin's office
Exclusive tour of the founder's creative space
Located on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore in Paris, directly opposite the Hermès boutique, is the flagship Lanvin store which has been running for 125 years. On the top floor is the office of Jeanne Lanvin - the brainchild of Lanvin.
The office, a small room of about 20 square meters, is more like a library than a creative studio. On first glance, the only fashion that can be seen is a mannequin with an evening dress and a huge mirror. But on closer inspection, it becomes clear that this small space contains the story of one of the oldest fashion houses in France.
Jeanne started her career as a milliner with a small hat shop. In 1897, her beloved daughter Marguerite was born, who she designed an extensive wardrobe for. When clients came to the shop to purchase hats, they saw Marguerite and would request the same pieces for their own daughters.
In 1908, due to the popular demand of her daughter's outfits, Lanvin began to produce a full line of children's clothing. A year later, in 1909, Lanvin opened a women's boutique because the mothers wanted to dress in the same things as their daughters. In 1920, Jeanne established an interior design business - at the time she was the only designer to make clothes for women, children, as well as interiors. Four years later, Lanvin Parfum was introduced, making her one of the first couturiers to introduce a perfume division. And in 1926, menswear was added to the booming business.
The daisy blue colour associated with the designer and her daughter, Marguerite, which means 'Daisy' in French, have become an important part of the DNA of Lanvin; the corporate brand colour was chosen partly for this reason, and the image of blue daisies are often used in the house's embroidery and crafts.
The Lanvin logo created by French illustrator Paul Iribe depicts Jeanne Lanvin and her daughter. The drawing was printed on bottles of perfume Arpège - the first signature fragrance by the house; both the perfume and logo are very important because they symbolise the motherly daughter love between Jeanne and Marguerite. Two dolls inspired by the logo sit on Jeanne's desk to this day.
In the office, shelves from floor to ceiling feature books that Jeanne used to source inspiration for her collections. There are books on botany, fiction, birds, theatre, travel, and Russian ballets. When Jeanne began to travel, she had a habit of sourcing fabrics famous from a particular location, which are kept in her closets. Gold cloth with exotic embroidery and silk, souvenir textiles from Asia that were gifted to her are amongst the collection.
Creative director of Lanvin Alber Elbaz often comes here for inspiration - a place which up until now has been closed to the outside world, safekeeping the story of Jeanne Lanvin and her little Marguerite...