Parisian Elegance

The Musee des Arts Decoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) in Paris is actually in the Louvre complex. It doesn’t get the traffic enjoyed by the Mona Lisa, but anyone looking for a visual feast will be happy in its galleries.  Among many other things, there is the reconstructed apartment of the fashion designer Jeanne Lanvin in Paris.

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Jeanne began her career as an apprentice milliner, then trained as a dressmaker.  She married a count at age 28, which brought her into higher social circles. Their only daughter, Marguerite, eventually took over the fashion business her mother had founded.

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Jeanne began by making exquisite clothes for her daughter, which her friends wanted for their own children.  Soon she was making dresses for their mothers, and she was on her way. In no time, she had her own boutique on the world’s penultimate fashion street, the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore.

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Jeanne’s most famous creation was the iconic perfume “Arpege,” which was inspired by her daughter’s piano practice.  “Arpege” is French for “arpeggio.” The bottle features a charming graphic of a mother and daughter.

The apartment, from the 1920s, is designed down to the square inch, all in the blue and gold featured on the signature perfume bottles.  I can only imagine the rarefied life lived there.

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