Robe de style
Silk, metallic thread
Jeanne Lanvin, Paris, France
In the 1920s, Jeanne Lanvin became known for her feminine robe de style with its full pannier hips, an alternative to the tubular line of Art Deco fashions and their profusion of beads and silk tassels. She was not alone – in the confusion of style that followed the end of the First World War, a number of designers attempted to revive romantic pre-war fashions for evening dress.
As waistlines dropped to hip level in the 1920s and designers such as Chanel, Molyneux and Patou championed simple chiffon dance dresses with deep décolletés, Lanvin’s only accession to modernity was to flair the fullness of her voluminous skirts from the hip. Her style was suited to the nostalgia for the past felt by a war-weary population.
Lanvin’s style also embodied the femininity of youth with this silhouette and the relatively sparse embellishment, and yet her dresses appealed to women of all ages. This robe de style features her trademark use of intricate trimmings and floral embroideries in light pastel shades. Colour was very important to Lanvin and she maintained her own dyeworks to create her inimitable colours.
Jeanne Lanvin found the inspiration for her patterns, embroideries and exclusive colours in travel diaries, ethnic fabrics, and art books. Her work has been described as classical French perfection, embodying the true artistry of the couturierè’s craft with her luxurious materials, detailed embroideries and fine stitching. Her attention to detail is evident in the use of top-stitching, cut-outs and appliqués, which add finesse to her 18th-century style dresses.