Jeanne Lanvin

Jeanne Lanvin, evening dress, 1935-1936. Collection of the Palais Galliera. Photo : © R. Briant et L. Degrâces / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

Jeanne Lanvin, evening dress, 1935-1936. Collection of the Palais Galliera. Photo : © R. Briant et L. Degrâces / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

8 March - 23 August 2015

The Palais Galliera, in close collaboration with Alber Elbaz, artistic director of Lanvin, is honouring the oldest French fashion house still in business. This first Paris exhibition devoted to Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946) features over a hundred models from the amazing collections of the Palais Galliera and the Lanvin Heritage.

Mademoiselle Jeanne began her career as a milliner in 1885. In 1889, she opened a shop “Lanvin (Melle Jeanne) Modes” at 16 Rue Boissy d’Anglas, then in 1893 acquired her premises at 22 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. In 1897, she gave birth to her only daughter, Marguerite, who became her primary source of inspiration. In 1908, Jeanne Lanvin hit upon the new idea of children’s clothes. The following year, she opened the Young Ladies’ and Women’s department. That same year, she joined the Syndicat de la Couture, the designers’ union, and entered the closed world of French Fashion Houses. There followed a brides’ department, departments for lingerie and furs and, in the early 1920s, interior decoration and sport. In 1926, the entrepreneurial designer launched into men’s fashion. She also opened shops in Deauville, Biarritz, Barcelona, Buenos-Aires, Cannes, and Le Touquet… Inspired by the intense blue in frescoes by Fra Angelico, that same quattrocento blue became her favourite colour… In 1927, she celebrated her daughter Marguerite’s thirtieth birthday with the creation of the legendary perfume Arpège. The famous logo designed by Paul Iribe, depicting the couturière with Marguerite, is displayed on the round bottle created by Armand Rateau. The same logo is still featured on Lanvin creations to this day.

Jeanne Lanvin used travel diaries, swatches of ethnic fabrics and a vast library of art books to feed her curiosity and inspire her to create fabrics, patterns and exclusive colours. Jeanne Lanvin represents artistry in materials, embroidery, topstitches, twists, spirals, cut-outs – all the virtuosity of the couturière’s craft. It is classical French perfection, with very 18th century style dresses – slender bust, low waist, ample skirt – contrasting with the tubular line of Art Deco with its black and white geometrical patterns, the profusion of ribbons, cristals, beads, and silk tassels.

A capacity for hard work and an intuitive understanding of the modern world only partly explain the extraordinary success of this discreet woman. Alber Elbaz and the Palais Galliera invite you to an encounter with this great lady of haute couture, Jeanne Lanvin.


General curator : Olivier Saillard, director of the Palais Galliera
Academic advisors : Sophie Grossiord, general curator at the Palais Galliera, 
assisted by Christian Gros
Artistic direction : Alber Elbaz, artistic director of Maison Lanvin,
with Laure Harivel, Katy Reiss & Romain Stiegler
Scénography : Laurence Le Bris 


With the exceptional sponsorship of  

Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board, commented : “We are honoured to partner with the Palais Galliera in supporting the first retrospective dedicated to Jeanne Lanvin, one of the greatest figures of Parisian haute couture. Swarovski was founded in 1895, just six years after Mme Lanvin established her house, and she used crystals to adorn the luxuriously embellished evening gowns which became her trademark. This inspiring exhibition pays tribute to the skill, inventiveness and creativity of a great artist who captured and expressed the spirit of her time, and celebrates over 125 years of extraordinary fashion heritage which continues to thrive under Alber Elbaz.”

With the support of CRÉDIT DU NORD & LANVIN PARFUMS

In partnership with VOGUE PARIS, LE MONDE, STYLIST, TROIS COULEURS, ARTE, L'EXPRESS STYLES, FRANCE 5, FNAC

Exhibition App :
The 'Jeanne Lanvin' app is available in english for free on Apple Store & Play StoreTo learn more on the app, click here