Jeanne Lanvin - Parisian Fashion Designer - 1920
Jeanne Lanvin is the designer of “Maroussia,” the charming model above which is made of Marocain Greg with sleeves of antique cashmere. The skirt is stitched in the colors which appear in the cashmere
The fashion at Lanvin's is gay, alert, youthful; one feels here an inexhaustible mine of ideas, a vigorous imagination and a love of detail such as is rarely found even in Paris. If Lanvin chooses to cultivate a hitherto neglected period, the early Victorian, she embellishes it extremely and makes it quaint and pretty.
The tailor mades of very modern stuffs, kashavella, burnoussa, duvetyn, and velvet are straight; the coats are short and loose with standing collars and flaring cuffs; they are often faintly embroidered all over in opposition to a perfectly plain skirt.
Little capes of the same length as the jackets, just covering the back, make a pleasant change, especially as they may be detached and worn separately. Agnella, that beautiful imitation of lamb, is widely used at Lanvin's. One blue kashavella with a high collar at the back only has a second identical collar and waistcoat of white Agnella.
A series of medium coats slightly pinched in at waist and rather severely tailored appear. One black velvet model trimmed with gold braid has an eighteen inch basque of monkey, which saves me from telling you again that monkey is used everywhere.
Coats are ample and very often have a cape over them; a highly original way of managing this effect is to wear a huge square of fur over a coat; the square just covers the sleeves and hangs down the back; black mongolian goat on black duvetyn is one example; another idea is a fur bolero just to the waist on a woolen wrap.
The sleeves and sides of a coat may be of a different stuff or inlet with appliqué work. Of course, the coats are assorted to a dress; tinsel and metal embroidered in stripes, checks and squares or triangles are much appreciated; the same work repeated on the frock. Cut steel and marcassite is also beautiful.
A coat forming a “dalmatique” or priest's vestment, is a new shape: it is very long and straight in the back with two shorter panels coming over the front. Pale yellow and gray squirrel is pretty and novel as a wrap.
For the dresses velvet is more used than any other stuff: dark blue trimmed with a much brighter blue runs through the collection. A charming combination is that of velvet bodices worn with plaid woolen skirts.
Charmeuse, crepes de Chine, Georgette are the next stuffs in popularity: much monkey is used, especially for the edging and trimming of coat-dresses.
Briefly, we have long flat lines, flat backs and fronts, gathered sides, straight across-the-shoulder necklines, and wide bishop sleeves. Skirts are a trifle longer than usual, and I should say about six inches off the ground.
Lanvin is fonder of embroidery than almost any other house. In addition to the forms already described, we may mention designs made of triangular incrustations of velvet, on Georgette; chiffon covered with rounded taffeta petals just overlapping, many steel nails studding velvet.
Among the other numerous examples I recollect, very charming coral embroidery on loose panels is a good way of weighing them down especially when the girdle is chiffon rolled together with strings of coral “teeth.”
The typical evening dress is distinctly Victorian, with flat, off-the-shoulder bodices and taffeta skirts over which are placed immensely wide bells of tulle much longer than the lining and stiffened to an ample hemline by various artifices.
One pink taffeta and net is trimmed by rows of black and white tulle ruching. Another white silk and tulle are striped in yellow roses, a garland of them going around the décolleté. A mauve example has large panels of mauve taffeta petals.
The other line for evening wear is straight with much embroidery, steel and diamonds predominating. Square décolletés, very simple sheaths with coat or cape effects forming a train at the back are the rule; beaded, jetted and embroidered net generally is used with a great deal of silver and silver cloth.
"Lanvin" in the Garment Manufacturers’ Index, New York: The Allen-Nugent Co. Publishers, Vol. II, No. 2, September 1920: 26-27.