Paris Between the Wars – “L” is for Jeanne Lanvin

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Between 1919 and 1939, Paris experienced a cultural and intellectual boom. This blog will feature artists, writers, composers, musicians, and designers. Paris was at its cultural peak.

Portrait of Jeanne Lanvin, by Dufau, 1925

Portrait of Jeanne Lanvin, by Dufau, 1925

The woman whose name is synonymous with French haute couteur was born in Paris in 1867, the eldest of eleven children. She trained as a milliner (hatmaker) and dressmaker before establishing herself as a milliner at the age of 22.

Lanvin made dresses for her young daughter and caught the eye of some of Paris’ wealthiest individuals, who requested that Lanvin make similar dresses for their children. Soon, she was making dresses for their mothers, who became clients of her new boutique. By the 1920s, Lanvin had opened a dye factory, and shops devoted to lingerie, menswear, and furs. Her most significant creation, however, and that for which she is so widely known, was the introduction of her signature fragrance, Arpège.


Here you see the design of mother and daughter, so appropriate as Jeanne Lanvin perfected the concept of ‘mother-daughter dressing’ in her work.

“The name Lanvin for me,” wrote Christian Dior, “was bound up with the memory of girls in robes de style whom I danced my first foxtrots, Charlestons, and shimmies with.”



Hi Martha – it’s the only perfume I use … a friend’s mother brought back a bottle for each of us from the Caribbean (decades ago) …and I ended up with the Lanvin – and I’ve not touched anything else since … a young brother of my god-daughter said to me aged ?? young though! – oh Hilly you always smell so wonderful! or similar – so endearing. I’ve still use it today …

Fascinating to read up her information .. cheers Hilary

Your right Martha (as always), people may learn new things from my blog post, but I think I learn even more doing the research! Over the Hump now!

Wonderful! I always learn so much from these posts. 🙂

Oh my, I am starting to feel like a total cultural ignoramus. Thank you for bringing a little style to my day, Martha!

I remember the name and fragrance from the 1960’s when I worked for a large department store. Talk about staying power.

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