Bonnie Cashin | Timelessness

Bonnie Cashin born September 28, 1908 is considered one of the most significant pioneers of designer ready-to-wear, more commonly called sportswear, in America. Among the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful designers of the 20th century, Cashin was revered for her intellectual, artistic, and independent approach to fashion. Treating clothing as collage or kinetic art, she sculpted designs from luxurious organic materials including leather and mohair, both of which she first championed as appropriate for high-end fashion, as well as tweed, cashmere, and wool jersey. She initiated the use of industrial hardware on clothing and accessories, most famously with the brass toggle that she incorporated into her handbag designs for Coach, where she became founding designer in 1962.

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Favoring timeless shapes from the history of world clothing, her staple silhouettes included ponchos, tunics, Noh coats and kimonos, all of which allowed for ease of movement and manufacture. Cashin is also credited with introducing the concept of layering to fashion.

One might say that Bonnie Cashin was born to design. Her father, Carl, was a photographer and inventor; her mother Eunice a dressmaker. Born in Fresno, California in 1908, as a young child Bonnie played with her mother’s fabric scraps and drafted clothing illustrations. Eunice fiercely encouraged her daughter’s creativity, and she would prove to be a lifelong mentor and design partner.

In 1950, Cashin received the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award and Coty Fashion Critic’s Award for her first “return collection”. Displeased, however, with her manufacturer’s control over her creativity and frustrated with designing only coats and suits, she began working with multiple manufacturers to design a range of clothing at different price points. This enabled her to create complete wardrobes for modern living. In the 1950s, her prices ranged from $14.95 for a plastic raincoat to $2,000 for a fur kimono. At the time, it was unheard of for any designer to work for a variety of firms in so many different sectors of the business.

In 1953, Cashin teamed with leather importer Philip Sills and pioneered the use of leather for high fashion. Designing for her globetrotting lifestyle, she developed “layered” outfits, inspired by traditional Chinese dress, with the objective of creating a flexible wardrobe for modern nomads, whether a day’s travel was from country to country or city to suburb.

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In 1962, with Miles and Lillian Cahn, wholesale manufacturers of men’s wallets, she launched Coach as a women’s handbag and accessory firm. Her designer cachet and her inimitable aesthetic kept her in constant demand. She designed for companies ranging including American Airlines, Samsonite, Bergdorf Goodman, White Stag, and Hermès; she was the first American designer to have a boutique in Liberty’s of London.

Without licensing her name, Cashin also designed knitwear, gloves, totes, at-home gowns and robes, raincoats, umbrellas, hats and furs. Among many other honors she received the Coty Award (the precursor to the CFDA Award) five times, entering their Hall of Fame in 1972.  Bonnie Cashin retired from design in 1985 and devoted herself to painting and philanthropy.

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She had always been known among friends and colleagues for her generosity, and had long demonstrated her commitment to nurturing a new generation of innovative thinkers. To that end, she established a scholarship fund in her mother’s memory at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and an arts-focused lecture series in her uncle’s name at California Institute of Technology. In 1981, she started the Innovative Design Fund, a New York City nonprofit created to support educational and cultural institutions that promote creative thinking in design arts and encourage dialogue with creative minds in diverse disciplines. In 1988, the Innovative Design Fund was moved to The New York Community Trust. When she died on February 3, 2000, she left her estate to charity, and her executors created the Bonnie Cashin Fund in The New York Community Trust, “to be used for grants for educational, cultural, charitable, or scientific purposes, including libraries, museums, and schools, or for the rehabilitation and training of the poor and homeless, or for advanced scientific research.”

BALLY | Building Brands Breaking the Mold

Carl Franz Bally

Born October 24, 1821, founded the Bally Shoe company in 1851.

Carl Franz Bally was the 11th of 14 children of Peter Bally (1783–1849) and Anna Maria Herzog. His grandfather, Franz Ulrich Bohli (1748–1810) immigrated as a young man from Vorarlberg in west part of Austriato Schönenwerd in the Canton of Solothurn in Switzerland, working as a mason for a manufacturer of silk ribbons. Later, he established his own silk ribbon manufacture in that town, relying mostly on work outsourced to local weavers. His sons Peter and Niklaus continued and enlarged the firm producing also suspenders and elastic fabrics and building an extensive second facility in Säckingen, (Germany). Carl Franz, one of the ten sons of Peter, entered the business at age 17 concentrating on the newest products. During a business trip to Paris he visited a shoe manufacturing plant and began to think about producing shoes, founding his own small facility in 1851. After initial difficulties the business began to flourish and in the early 1870s he established sales organizations in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montevideo, (Uruguay) and Paris, (France).

By 1880 Bally had transformed Schönenwerd from a sleepy farm village to an industrial center offering employment to hundreds of workers from the town and surrounding towns in what developed into one of the world’s leading shoe manufacturing enterprises. Leather goods are the heart and have lead BALLY’s Company.

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Carl Franz was a progressive liberal, pushing forward many new ideas in the town, now taken for granted. He and his wife opened a special education school for girls, a kindergarten, an old-age home and a public swimming facility at the bordering Aare river. He built homes for workers and converted a flood region of the Aare in town into a luscious, publicly accessible park. He fought battles to break the long established bond between school education and religion (Schönenwerd is the location of a small monastery originally built around 600 AD) and supported the establishment of improved schooling facilities for grade schools and a regional middle school. To fill the need for workers he opened small manufacturing facilities in several towns in the surrounding region. He also served as a lawmaker in various local and federal positions. Carl Franz and his wife Cecile Rychner (1823–1893) had two sons, Eduard and Arthur, who continued their father’s business under the name C. F. Bally Söhne. Around the turn of the century, the firm employed some 3200 workers and produced over two million pairs of shoes a year. Carl Franz Bally died in Basel in 1899.

The Bally company was founded  in the basement of their family home in Schönenwerd in the Canton of Solothurn, Switzerland and created through the passion and vision of pioneer Carl Franz Bally. His original family business was the manufacture of elastic ribbon but a journey to Paris and a gift of love forever changed Bally’s destiny.

During a business trip to Paris in 1849, Carl Franz wanted to buy his wife some lace-up booties – the popular shoe of the day. Unable to recall her exact size, he decided to buy twelve pairs in a range of sizes, knowing that one would certainly fit. Upon visiting the Parisian factory where the booties were made, he noticed that each shoe featured buttons with elastic closures similar to the kind his family produced in Switzerland. Inspired by the possibility of creating more jobs and improving the lives of local residents, he decided to expand his business into shoe production. Together with his brother Fritz, Carl Franz employed designers to assist and together, they began producing shoes made entirely by hand in the cellar of his Schönenwerd home.

The Bally Company was established in Schönenwerd in 1851 and three years later, the first factory located in the village centre was built. In 1854, Fritz Bally retired. By the 1870s, Bally was recognised as a footwear industry leader. The company’s name changed to CF Bally, and then to CF Bally & Sons when the brand’s founding pioneer handed the company reins to his sons in 1892. Carl Franz died in 1899 but undeniably passed on his pioneering spirit to his sons.

Bally grew internationally and opened stores in Geneva and Montevideo (Uruguay) in 1870, followed by Buenos Aires (1873), Paris (1879) and London (1882). In the 1880s, Bally was also one of the very first European luxury goods brands to open in post-reform and opening China. By now the brand had also extended its offering to include clothing, handbags and leather goods for both men and women (1976), and in 1990 would become truly global, opening in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Lebanon and Turkey.

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Bally is currently under the leadership of CEO Frédéric de Narp (November,2013), with Pablo Coppola as Design Director (February, 2014) and parent company JAB Holdings at the helm. Anne-Marie Gaultier has also joined the brand as Vice President of Global Marketing & Communications. She started in April 2014.

BALLY companies continue to strive for what it was originally known for when first started in the basement of C.F. Bally’s home in 1851, high quality and luxury. More than 200 Bally stores around the world, as well as the opportunity to purchase Bally products on-line, gives consumers the products and the quality that C.F. Bally envisioned.

 

Some photo are Copyright © 2013 infinitas. s

LOEWE | Enrique Loewe Roessberg – Jonathan Anderson | Golden Needle

 

 

LOEWE began as a cooperative of leather artisans in the center of Madrid in 1846. German entrepreneur Enrique Loewe Roessberg consolidated the workshop under his name in 1872, creating one of the world’s original luxury houses. As LOEWE evolved and expanded over the next century, a commitment to modernity emerged as a defining characteristic: In the 1950s and 60s, LOEWE’s offices and stores in Spain became a beacon of progressive international design thanks to the radical architecture and interiors of Javier Carvajal. In the 70s and 80s, LOEWE’s capabilities with leather ensured rapid internationalization, resulting in store openings in Tokyo, Hong Kong and London.

In 1970, artist Vicente Vela created the Anagram, the abstract symbol consisting of four intertwined Ls that has been stamped ever since on LOEWE’s products as an emblem of material and technical excellence. LOEWE’s first ready-to-wear collection was introduced in 1965—bringing fashion into the core of the brand—followed by the debut of the iconic, unlined Amazona bag in 1975. The house was acquired by luxury group LVMH in 1996.

In 1846 Madrid was preparing for a pair of royal weddings, those of Her Majesty Isabel II of Bourbon to the Duke of Cadiz and that of the Princess Maria Luisa Fernanda to the Duke of Montpensier. Due to an increased demand for their services, a collection of Spanish craftsmen founded a leather goods workshop in the commercial district of Madrid on Lobo Street. In 1872, when a German craftsman named Enrique Roessberg Loewe who specialised in leatherwork arrived in Madrid, he decided to join forces with the existing leather workshop owners and establish a brand. The collaboration allowed Enrique Loewe to bring his German sense of precision and craftsman’s technique and mix it with the Spanish workshop’s sensuality and unequalled leather expertise.

During the reign of Alfonso XIII, Loewe was appointed purveyor to the royal household and so began a long association with the bourgeoisie. Twenty years later the name of E.Loewe was seen all over the streets of Madrid, with large posters staking his claim to certain areas. This resulted in his name also becoming known amongst the general public. By 1910, Loewe had acquired a reputation as the most luxurious leather goods supplier in the city and began its expansion across the Spanish territory. When Enrique Loewe Knappe took over the company in 1934, there followed a succession of store openings and expansions and by the end of the 1960s Loewe was beginning to expand internationally.

Renowned for their made-to-order service, Loewe customers are able to order clothes and accessories tailor made to their requirements either in store or from the Loewe website. Pieces are handmade by a team of artisans whose craft has been passed down since 1846. Still a unique family dynasty, Enrique Loewe Lynch is part of the business and is the family’s representative on the board of directors.


Craftsmanship, progress and unequalled expertise with leather, Loewe’s founding pillars are reconfigured with a timely awareness evident in desirable and functional products across multiple categories, including ready-to-wear, accessories, home and lifestyle. Spain is where Loewe was born and remains the brand’s home. While its current landscape contains elements from places near and far, the Spanish legacy is expressed in modern ways, while the heart of Loewe still beats in Madrid, where all of its world-renowned leather goods continue to be manufactured. By the 1970s Loewe broadened its business to include a women’s RTW collection and a fragrance line. Nearing the end of the decade the brand opened its first store in Japan, marking the beginning of a strong development into the Asian market. This expansion was bolstered by a collaboration with LVMH by the end of the 1980s.

 

In October 2013, Jonathan Anderson was appointed Creative Director.

With new creative director Jonathan Anderson at the helm, Loewe is looking to the future as the label continues to grow. As Loewe approaches its 170th anniversary as one of the world’s most luxurious fashion houses, the iconic Spanish brand has traditions of the past staying strong, delivering heritage and innovation for the next generation.

 

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Under Anderson, Loewe has started a new chapter, presenting itself to the world more multi-faceted and dynamic than ever. Anderson’s first ready-to-wear collections for the Loewe were presented in 2014 at Paris Fashion Week spring/summer 2015.

Streamlined, ultrasoft renditions of the famous Amazona and Flamenco are among the most coveted bags available at leading fashion stores today, including the Puzzle bag, a completely new bag design by Jonathan Anderson, his debut for the house.  The design adds a novel character to Loewe’s range of iconic accessories, pairing modern functionality and aesthetics with ingenious construction and incredible softness.

 

 

http://www.loewe.com

 

 

Some excerpts taken from online posts and article submissions.

 

Zuhair Murad | Star-Studded Sophistication

Zuhair Murad

Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad grew up in Baalbek, Lebanon. Since his early childhood, he always dreamt of evading to a world of fantasy. Zuhair Murad started sketching dresses at the age of ten, quoted as saying “I don’t recall a day in my life without a pen in my hand!”. In 1997, Zuhair Murad opened his first atelier in Beirut, catering to a growing private clientele. In 1999, Zuhair Murad celebrated his international debut at the Alta Roma Fashion Week, following an invitation from the Camera Nazionale della Moda. In 2001, Zuhair Murad presented his couture collection for the first time during Haute Couture Week in Paris, gaining momentum with international media. He expanded towards a ready-to-wear collection, with a more simple yet glamorous approach back in 2005. In 2012, the Zuhair Murad Fashion House relocated to a new, eleven-story building in Gemayzeh, in the heart of Beirut. The majestic space houses not only the corporate offices, but also the heart of the Zuhair Murad Design Studio, including designers, pattern makers, tailors and embroidery experts. Zuhair Murad was elected as a new guest member to the Haute Couture fashion week calendar by the supervisory board of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris.

 

 

Zuhair was born to a maronite family in Beirut. Shortly after high school, Zuhair Murad moved from Beirut to Paris where he obtained his degree in fashion.

In 1999 Murad made his first appearance on the catwalks of Rome with an acclaimed collection that led to his participation in the Italian calendar. In 1995, Murad opened his third head shop in Beirut. His extensive lines encompass haute couture,ready-to-wear, accessories and eyewear. Plans to expand the fashion line are underway to include beauty products,perfumes, swimwear and lingerie as well as furnishings. Two boutiques (including showrooms) have been opened. The first in Beirut on Charles Helou Avenue and the second on rue Francois I in Paris. He also has a showroom in Milan on the Via Borgogna.

 

Marion Cotillard, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Ivana Trump, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Lopez, Kellie Pickler, Najwa Karam, Shakira, Katy Perry, Christina Applegate, Vanessa Williams, Ana Ortiz, and many more have been seen wearing his dresses. He has also dressed the likes of Najwa Karam, in her video clips, “Lashhad Hobbak” and “MaFi Noum.”

Miley Cyrus was seen wearing one of his creations at the Academy Awards, and most recently Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez wore his creations at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards. He also designed Miss France’s dress Chloé Mortaud for Miss Universe 2009 and 5 dresses for the final of Miss France 2010. Florence Welch was last seen wearing one of his creations during the Brits awards. His dress was silver silk with gold and silver beaded designs.

Nina Dobrev, Christina Aguilera, Wanda Sykes, and singer Jewel were seen wearing Zuhair Murad dresses at the 2010 Emmy Awards. Kerry Washington wore one of his gowns at the 2011 Emmy Awards. Cheryl Cole wore one of his designs on The X Factor. Fergie has аlso worn his designs. Princess al-Taweel of Saudi Arabia wore his creation when she attended the wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Blake Lively was also wearing a Zuhair Murad dress  from his Spring 2012 Couture collection at the worldwide premier of her new movie “SAVAGES” at Westwood Village. She had also previously been seen in a beautiful Zuhair Murad dress in a Season 4 episode of Gossip Girl entitled ‘Juliet doesn’t live here anymore’  Kristen Stewart wore a Zuhair Murad dress at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival for a screening of her 2012 film On the Road and also at the premiere in Los Angeles of her film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

 

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ALTRUZARRA |Self-Made Confidence

Joseph Altuzarra is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear clothing designer. He launched his brand, Altuzarra, in New York in 2008. His brand is influenced by his multicultural upbringing and his international education in fashion. Born in 1983 in Paris, Altuzarra was raised by a Chinese-American mother and a French Basque father. As a boy he studied ballet for eight years.  Joseph graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Art and Art History. Upon heading to New York, he interned at Marc Jacobs before his post at Proenza Schouler. Seeking to further enhance his technical construction skills, Joseph then apprenticed with patternmaker Nicolas Caïto, the former head of the Rochas atelier. Joseph later returned to Paris, working as first assistant to Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci.

Altuzarra was awarded the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear Design in 2012 and the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2011. His other awards include: Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40, Fashion Group International Rising Star of the Year,  Out100 Vanguard of the Year, Ecco Domani Award and Forbes 30 Under 30. In 2014, he was awarded the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.

He may have made his name by developing a strict and sexy silhouette for the urban-savvy swan—the one with the big job and the budget to afford it (and why not? In this health-conscious era of personal training and medical advances on subtle time-defying upkeep, the idea of “ageless dressing” has never felt more relevant)—but it was Truman Capote’s version, specifically eighteenth-century dandies, and the “Gloria Vanderbilt era,” that he had in mind for his fall 2015 collection. “A lot of it was about taking pleasure in dressing up,” the designer said at a preview yesterday, and fans needn’t fret—those trademark slit skirts are still here, only now with fluted hems for a key bit of flounce, and so, too is that oft-cited gypsy-like romanticism, in weightless flowing velvet devoré and gold-paillette embroidered silks inspired by the pattern of a Tibetan carpet.

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White lace ran through the collection in a thicker lacquered take and a thinner chantilly, here cleverly layered for a deep V-shaped seam that subtly mimicked the neckline of a cricket sweater, there in a dreamy frilled frock. Wide, regal fox collars adorned wool crepe and wool jacquard coats with those same fluted hems; a Prince of Wales check topper in warm, autumnal tones and honey caramel–colored fox was something that would put a back-to-school skip in anyone’s step, come fall. (And the perhaps less practical—but where’s the fun in practical, if you can afford not to be?—pale pink and icy blue fox fur clouds of coats that could have been candy-coated, for the reaction they inspired in showgoers. But it was the final series of evening looks—those slinky burnished navy and burgundy velvets and silks, some topped with high patrician lace collars (and there is a perennial allure to white lace that can’t be ignored, and in the case of the designer’s frilled socks and knee-high boots in the fabric, won’t be), some bare to the sternum, that truly raised the collective pulse.

Altuzarra has been working with a new art director—Thomas Lenthal, the publisher of Paradis magazine and cofounder of System—on developing his house codas and thinking brand first, what he called “a lot of little things coming through,” and here that translated into new, maritime-inspired A-emblazoned buttons on a shearling collared peacoat and a brand new line of bull-whip accented bags (shown on the runway in hobo and saddle shapes, as well as a Dupont lighter–inspired clutch). “It’s nice when you reach a certain point where people start to understand what you’re about so you can sort of break out of it and take it somewhere else,” the designer said, and with each passing season it’s become increasingly apparent that wherever he leads, he will find no lack of followers anytime soon. (some excerpts taken from article by Alessandra Codinah)

JEAN DESSES | Mastered Elegance (draped)

e2b05dad9f4bf58c505f5583c398fcb6Jean Dessès (6 August 1904 – 2 August 1970), was a world leading fashion designer in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. His designs reflected the influences of his travels, specializing in creating draped evening gowns in chiffon and mousseline, based on early Greek and Egyptian robes.

Born Jean Dimitre Verginie in Alexandria, Egypt, to Greek parents, he originally set out to study law, but, in 1925, he abandoned his legal studies and began working for Maison Jane, a Parisian couture house where, in 1937, he opened his own couture salon. After World War II, he traveled extensively throughout the world. His work was influenced by his travels, creating draped evening gowns in chiffon, embroidered dresses, sheath dresses with tight jackets and flowing skirts. His fashion was very popular with European royalty and movie stars. Among his clientele were the Queen and royal princesses of Greece, the Duchess of Windsor, Madame Jean (Lilia) Ralli, the first Mrs. Aristotle Onassis and society hostess Elsa Maxwell. In 1962, he designed the wedding gown worn by Princess Sophia of Greece (later Queen Sofia of Spain) for her marriage to the future King Juan Carlos of Spain Valentino worked with Desses for several years in the 1950s and gained much hands-on experience, as did Guy Laroche who in the 1950s was Desses’ assistant.

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In 1963, at age 60, he retired to Greece because of poor health, where he ran a small boutique which he had opened eight years earlier. He died in Athens in 1970. In the 1990s, his fashion designs saw a revival with the interest in vintage dresses. Naomi Campbell wore a vintage boned bodice and ruched silk Desses gown in May 1999 at a Christie’s party. Later, in 2001, Renée Zellweger wore a lemon yellow strapless 1950s Desses gown to the Academy Awards. Similarly, Jennifer Lopez wore a vintage moss green Desses gown, made with 50 yards of chiffon, to the 2006 Academy Awards.

HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 05:  Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez arrives to the 78th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on March 5, 2006 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

HOLLYWOOD – MARCH 05: Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez arrives to the 78th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on March 5, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

 

His collections were hailed by the press as being very original. Time and again the showstoppers were his intricate flowing chiffon evening dresses. For these he used ombre fabrics, a favourite effect. His fur coats were shaded light to dark. He tried to dethrone the colour black, by use of soft hazy colours in dresses that involved much plaiting and twisting, as one or more fabrics were joined with ribbons or bands of mink. Often scarves trailed from neck to floor, and rippled, like his uneven hems.  In 1945, Desses participated in the fashion doll exhibition held in Paris called “Theatre de la Mode” held by the Chambre of Couture in the Louvre Museum. Approximately 172 dolls dressed by 40 couturiers were shown. This exhibition subsequently went on tour all over Europe and the USA.  In 1949 Desses began producing ready-to-wear lines for the US market.  In the 90’s, with the surge of interest in vintage dresses, the gowns of Desses have been in great demand.

The fashion designer Jean Desses produced perfume two are significant “Kalispera & Celine”

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He died in 1970 at the age of 66.

NINA Ricci | Heir of her Time…

Nina Ricci born  Maria Nielli was born in Turin, Italy, in 1883 and her family moved to Florence when she was five years old. Subsequently, her family moved to France in 1895 when she was 12 years old. At the age of 13, she was apprenticed to a dressmaker and by 18 had become the head of the salon and by 22 it’s chief designer. In 1904 she married a jeweler named Luigi Ricci and they had a son named Robert in 1905.
n 1908 Nina joined the house of Raffin as a designer and remained there for 20 years. In 1932, at the age of 50, Madame Ricci decided to open her own house, and she and her son set up the House of Ricci. There Madame Ricci created the garments and Robert ran the business. It grew rapidly throughout the 30’s till it occupied 11 floors in 3 buildings, all on the same street as their original one-room maison de couture. Working directly with the fabric on a mannequin, Nina Ricci created elegant, sophisticated clothes in classic style. She was noted for her high standard of workmanship and became a popular designer for older society women. 5325751592_0c63d6bf6a
She was skilled at making the most of a print, cutting a plaid for an evening dress on the bias, echoing the X-cross in the skirt pattern in the surplice, crossed-over treatment of the bodice. One daring dress in 1937 had a halter neck open between the breasts from neck to waist. Day and evening dresses alike drew attention to the figure, by being fitted to below the waist and featuring much shirring and drapery. In 1945, after the war had ended, it was very necessary to revive the glory of haute couture as well as raise money for war relief. Robert Ricci had an idea which Lucien Lelong, President of the Chambre, put into action. 172 dolls from 40 Paris couturiers, including Balenciaga and Madame Gres, were dressed in the latest fashions and an exhibition was held at the Louvre, in Paris. It was a great success and subsequently toured Europe and the USA. By the early 50’s, when Nina Ricci was nearing 70, she ceased to take an active role in design, just keeping an eye on the house. Her son brought in a new head designer in 1954, the Belgian Jules-Francois Crahay, whose first collection for Ricci was a great success being feminine in the extreme – beautiful of colouring and fabric, unbizarre and elegant.

Nina Ricci designed gowns while Robert managed the business and finances. She worked with the fabrics directly on the mannequin to ensure they had shape once they were finished. Nina Ricci designs soon became known for the refined, romantic, always feminine feeling Maria adds to all of her collections.

In 1945, with the war over, designers were casting about for a way to revive the infatuation women had formerly had with haute couture, while raising money for war relief. Robert Ricci had an idea which Lucien Lelong, President of the Chambre, put into action. Over 150 mannequins from 40 Paris couturiers, including Balenciaga and Madame Gres, were dressed in the labels’ best fashions and were placed in an exhibition held at the Louvre, in Paris. After a huge success in Paris it toured Europe and then the USA.

In 1946 Robert created his first fragrance, Coeur Joie. In 1948 Robert came up with another fragrance, L’Air du Temps, the brand’s most popular fragrance, which continues to be a top seller today. Several Flight Attendantuniforms were designed by the Nina Ricci brand. Nina Ricci is also a pioneer of licensing their designs before the rise of Ready-to-wear. As early as 1960, they started licensing their patterns to upscale boutiques such as Chez Ninon in New York and Betty Clemo in Hong Kong for ‘line-to-line’ reproduction. 8726062800_d929d863b8_z

By the early 1950s Nina Ricci was nearing 70 and she slowly ceased to take an active role in design, choosing to just keep an eye on the house. Her son chose the new head designer in 1954, the Belgian Jules-François Crahay.

Crahay left Ricci in 1963 to go to Lanvin, and was immediately replaced by Gerard Pipart, who had worked at Balmain, Fath and Jean Patou prior to his new job. He continued to carry on the name of Ricci with beautiful and elegant dresses.

THEN…

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After Maria Ricci’s death in 1970, Crahay was appointed head of the house. Robert continued to excel in perfumery and business until his death in 1988.

Massimo Guissain’s family purchased the house of Nina Ricci in 1998 from Crahay. Massimo Guissain worked as a designer, but Nathalie Gervais had been the chief designer for the house for several years. She presented her last collection in Fall 2001. In May 2002 American designer James Aguiar took over as chief designer and designed for the House of Ricci for two seasons.

In 2003, Lars Nilsson took over the house of Ricci with shaky reviews from critics. He made a sudden redesign in early 2006, and then in September announced that Brussels-born designer Olivier Theyskens of Rochas would take over the role as head of the label. In 2009, Theyskens was replaced by designer Peter Copping, who had worked for Louis Vuitton. In 2015, after Peter Copping left the house, Guillaume Henry took the place of Creative director.

NOW…

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During a 2013 fashion show, Ricci designs were targeted by bare-breasted Femen protesters, who grabbed model Hollie-May Saker.

Nina Ricci’s most famous perfume, L’Air du Temps, created in France in 1949, means “Air of Time”, capturing the passion and elegance of an emerging generation Maria and Robert Ricci headed. Robert worked with master perfumer Francis Fabron to create a scent with as much elegance as Madame Maria Ricci’s clothes. Marc Lalique created the graceful twin-dove crystal bottle. Other classic Nina Ricci perfumes have included “Farouche”, “Capricci”, “Fleur de Fleurs” and “Eau de Fleurs”; each has had its own unique Lalique crystal pure perfume bottle. Men’s fragrances have included “Signoricci”, “Signoricci II” and “Phileas”. More recent perfumes have included two different fragrances, both with the name “Nina”, and a series of three perfumes under the name “Les Belles de Ricci”. Furthermore, there have been additional fragrances with the name “Ricci Ricci”, “Love in Paris” and “Premier Jour” which means “first day”.