The Lanvin we know today is a sophisticated convergence of old school luxury with modern finesse, Lucas Ossendrijver and Alber Elbaz mixing tailoring and sportswear with a precision alien to many designers. It’s with this same savoir faire that Jeanne Lanvin and her fashion house rose to the elevated heights of Parisienne fashion in the late 19th century and with the same elegant masculinity she engaged in the crafting of the first Lanvin suit in 1901.
Embroidered with olive branches and golden threads, the bespoke high-waisted suit was designed at the request of poet and dramatist Edmond Rostand. The order was the starting point for some sixty other suits that would follow for immortals such as André Maurois, Paul Valéry and Georges Duhamel. Custom-made and immaculately refined, they were the first steps of Lanvin’s entry into the exclusive world of men’s bespoke tailoring.
This year marks 125 years of Lanvin, the oldest fashion house in Paris. In 1882 – seven years before the launch of the house – Jeanne Lanvin became apprentice milliner for Félix at 15 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the current address for Lanvin Menswear. Perhaps it was a telling location: the Lanvin’s menswear evolution catalysed several firsts for the house, with the launch of the Lanvin menswear line in 1926 (designed by her nephew, Yves) positioning Lanvin as the first haute couturier to clothe entire families. Lanvin’s vision was at the vanguard of a new fashion dynamic, envisaging a Lanvin lifestyle that would include menswear, sportswear, interior decoration, lingerie and perfume.
Lanvin menswear advertisement, 1929
Lanvin menswear atelier, 2012
To celebrate the anniversary, Lanvin is following its lineage online with a unique timeline updated weekly. Visit each Thursday to uncover a new layer of the house’s history and trace it back to the Lanvin we know today – you got it, Lanvin are doing one seriously epic #TBT. As the house evolves, so do a myriad of references that will continue to progress the inimitable Lanvin aesthetic.