There are many designers that have shaped fashion in France. However, before there were Dior and Chanel there was Jeanne Lanvin. Lanvin was a designer that paved the way for all the others to come after her.
Jeanne was born on January 1, 1867 in Paris at 35 Rue Mazarine. She was the oldest of eleven children to parents Bernard Lanvin and Sophie Blanche Deshayes. Jeanne got a job working at a hat shop at the age of 13, where she was a natural fit. In just three years she served as apprentice milliner and in 1889 at 22 years old she opened her own shop in Paris on the Rue Boissy d'Anglas. Her hats were very popular with the Paris elite and she had a long waiting list for her custom hats. She would go onto create perfume, sportswear, fashion for men, women and children and designs for the home.
Jeanne Lanvin’s name is not one that is as known as so many other designers and she was fine with that. Karl Lagerfeld later criticized her for her low-key persona and Coco Chanel looked at her as one of her greatest rivals. Today everyone thinks it was Coco that pioneered perfume, sportswear, hats and the color black, but just like everything else that many people know about Chanel, it is completely wrong. It is Jeanne Lanvin that we owe so much.
Listen to the full episode about the life of this amazing woman.
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