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From Madame Jeanne to Monsieur Elbaz, the Parisian house of Lanvin is heralded as one of the most esteemed labels in fashion. Jeanne Lanvin began her career designing frocks for her daughter, Marie-Blanche, in the early 1900s. Envisioning a freer future for her girl, the designer’s aim was to emancipate women from the rigidities of fashion of the time. In 1909 Lanvin was accepted into the Syndicat de la Couture, making Madame a true couturière. She remained at the label until she died in 1946, but her legacy lives on through the exquisite tailoring, masterly draping and lavish embellishment of current creative director Alber Elbaz. For Winter 2010, Lanvin was the guest designer collaborator at H&M in what was one of the most anticipated collections and a high street hit. Today, the house is the oldest surviving French fashion maison – and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, any time soon.


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