House of Lanvin (French, founded 1889)

Jeanne Lanvin (French, 1867–1946)
ca. 1925
cotton, silk
18 in. (45.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Rodman A. Heeren, 1961
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Jeanne Lanvin was apprenticed to a milliner and a dressmaker before opening her own millinery shop in 1889. She expanded into dressmaking when her clients began asking for the ensembles in which she adorned her daughter, Marguerite di Pietro (1897-1958). Her style embodied the femininity of youth in a most modern way with meticulous and relatively sparse surface embellishments and robe de style silhouettes, which could be worn by women of all ages. Lanvin's aptitude can be seen through her house's 1920s expansion into fur, lingerie, men's wear, household goods and perfume. She even had the forethought to open her own dye factory which produced the inimitable 'Lanvin blue.' The longevity of the House of Lanvin can be credited to her attentive management and design standards from its inception.

    Lanvin's roots as a milliner are evident with this delicately stitched headdress. The design is influenced by the coif, a style of traditional folk headdress. The original coif was a basic cap which covered the ears and was worn throughout Europe since the Middle Ages. The French form adapted into a shape worn by women that covered the bun at the back of the head and extended at the top and down the sides of the face. This style was traditionally made in white, much like this couture adaptation. This headdress' intricate pleating and unique shape make it exemplary of Lanvin's artistic ability.

    The elegant form taken from a traditional French folk costume.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: Label: "Jeanne Lanvin/Paris/22. Faubourg St. Honoré/21663"

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History