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Lanvin (Est. 1889) Generally acknowledged as the oldest surviving fashion house in Paris, Lanvin began as a family business. The brand’s logo is based on a photograph of Jeanne Lanvin (1867–1946), the 22-year-old Parisian milliner, who founded the firm in 1889, and her daughter. The photograph was taken when Jeanne attended a ball with her daughter, Marie-Blanche de Polignac, wearing matching outfits in 1907.

Jeanne made beautiful clothes for her daughter that attracted the attention of wealthy people who wanted copies for their own offspring. Soon, Jeanne was making dresses for their mothers.

It was not long before some of the most famous names in Europe were among the clientele of Jeanne’s boutique on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris. In 1909, Jeanne Lanvin joined the Syndicat de la Couture, an advance that marked her formal status as a couturière.

Jeanne’s conception of style as an all-encompassing aesthetic universe established her label as an early lifestyle brand and a champion of everyday elegance. Jeanne founded the Lanvin fashion house and the later beauty and perfume company, Lanvin Parfums. The eldest of 11 children, she became an apprentice milliner at Madame Félix in Paris at 16 and trained with Suzanne Talbot before becoming a milliner.

By 1923, the Lanvin empire included a dye factory in Nanterre. During the 1920s, Lanvin opened shops devoted to home decor, menswear, furs, and lingerie. Her most significant expansion was the creation of Lanvin Parfums SA in 1924 and the introduction of My Sin in 1925 (widely considered a unique fragrance.) It was followed by her signature fragrance Arpège in 1927, inspired by the sound of her daughter’s practicing her scales on the piano.

One of the most influential designers of the 1920s and 1930s, Jeanne Lanvin’s skillful use of intricate trimmings, virtuoso embroideries and beaded decorations in clear, light, floral colors became a Lanvin trademark. Though many designers have been part of the company’s history, they have always stayed true to Madame Lanvin’s vision.

In addition to runway-ready clothing for men and women, Lanvin produced jewelry to complement the outfits. From large and sparkling necklaces to small and colorful bracelets, Lanvin pieces cover a broad spectrum. Lanvin jewelry differs from most other types of jewelry in the materials used and the bold designs. Many pieces of Lanvin jewelry are eye-catching while others make tasteful accents. There are many selections and buyers can create or accent their personal style.

Lanvin necklaces are the boldest of the brand’s jewelry creations. They feature large gemstones and bright colors.

The Lanvin Altair necklace has a thick braided brass chain with three large, sparkling stars hanging front and center. On the other end of the spectrum, the Susan necklace is short with glittering crystals attached directly to the chain. Lanvin’s choices for necklaces extend from long chains to chokers. They feature topaz, crystal, and bright, colorful fluorescent pearls that can be combined with any outfit and worn for any occasion.

Lanvin’s dangly earrings are also popular. They have a clip closure to secure them to the ears. The bright crystals sparkle and provide accent to the wearer’s clothes. From pendant-style earrings to those that dangle and sway with every move, Lanvin offers a large selection of designs and colors. The Udaipur inspired earrings match colors and styles with Lanvin necklaces and tie the jewelry and outfits together.

Lanvin offers several chunky bracelets one can wear either for formal or casual occasions. The large Victoria bracelet has contrasting dark and light elements to create a dramatic effect. The bright cuff bracelets with fluorescent pearls come in pink, green, and yellow and add a bold accent to any clothing.

Lanvin also offers a large selection of sparkling and powerful brooches. The star-shaped Lanvin Altair brooch dresses up any blouse while the Borneo-themed Tortoise adds color and sparkle to a black ensemble.

Many Lanvin necklaces have removable pendants that can be worn as brooches if the chain seems too bulky for the outfit. Additionally, the colors and gems match those of other pieces in the collection.

Typically, when Lanvin offers its Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter apparel collections, the jewelry coordinates with the lines of clothing released for that season. The Spring/Summer collection features bright colors, smaller pieces, and jewelry that complements the wearer’s skin tones. The Fall/Winter collection features bigger, bolder sizes and darker colors.

The materials used for Lanvin jewelry is bereft of gold, silver, and diamonds. Instead, buyers choose from metals such as brass and pewter as well as leather and fabric ribbon.

In place of sparkling precious stones, there are crystals, topaz, and glass. Lanvin’s use of materials gives the jewelry a unique look that is different from what is usually contained in luxury brand creations. Lanvin’s jewelry differs from other types of jewelry in that the pieces are bright, bold, and often make a statement.

In September 2017, Lanvin introduced its women’s Fall/Winter 2017 jewelry collection, The Birds. The phoenix, known as the bird of paradise, and hummingbirds are the symbols of the collection. Covered in crystals, the pieces can be worn as necklaces or brooches, or can be transformed into pendants perched on fine brass chains and jeweled belts.

The Spring/Summer 2018 Collection pays homage to the stylistic codes of Lanvin. Featuring grosgrain ribbons, silver or gold finishes, ribbon chains, iconic pearls, clovers, Swarovski crystals, asymmetrical earrings, and brooches, the latest season’s jewelry for women combines luxury finishes and details with the brand’s jewelry expertise.

When Jeanne Lanvin died in 1946, ownership of the firm was ceded to her daughter who shared management with a cousin, then, later, with a fashion-industry expert. Because daughter, Marie-Blanche de Polignac was childless when she died in 1958, the ownership of the House of Lanvin went to a cousin, Yves Lanvin.

In 1990, Lanvin was taken over by the Orcofi Group then sold to l’Oréal in 1996. In 2001, Shaw-Lan Wang, a Taiwanese media magnate took Lanvin private again. As of 2016, Bouchra Jarrar had been selected as Creative Director for the Women’s Collection, replacing Alber Elbaz. Men’s Collections have been headed by Lucas Ossendrijver since 2005.

Today, Lanvin remains noteworthy for fine craftsmanship, construction and impeccable ornamentation. To own almost anything Lanvin is to own a part of fashion history.

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