Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Ian B. MacDonald, 1965
Not on view
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.
The minimalist sensibility of Lanvin's design can be seen in this evening dress with its innovative mother-of-pearl discs that create a unique pattern symbolic of her interest in Japanese culture. According to Dean L. Merceron in his book "Lanvin," the three circle pattern is a Japanese family crest known as the "mitsuboshi," which represents the stars of Orion, the hunter's, belt.
Marking: Label: "Jeanne Lanvin Paris/Unis France/étè 1938 Penciled # on back of label: "49902"