…was their really a Nina Ricci?
Yes, there really was.
The famous French designer was born in Italy…which makes her the Famous Italian designer…in 1883. Her family left Turin and moved to Paris, France, not Kentucky, when Maria Nielli was 12, somewhere along the way she got the nick name of Nina.
Around the age of 13, Nina went to work for dressmaker as an apprentice.
Child labor laws in the US were an abomination in 1896, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t any better in France.
She stuck with fashion through out her teenage years, and in 1904, she married Luigi Ricci, a jeweler.
She was 21.
A few years later, she joined the House of Raffin as a designer and stayed there 20 years. At the age of 49, around 1932, she launched her own design house…she designed gowns, and her son, Robert ran the finances.
Her designs were known for their femminine look, they were haute couture, when haute couture was really haute couture.
She worked directly with the mannequin to ensure the fabrics had the right shape. Nina Ricci designs soon became known for their refined and romantic look as well.
The House of Nina Ricci expanded in the 1930s from a one-room maison de couture to an 11 floor-three building fashion giant. Nina had little to do with the “business” operations.
AFter WWII, Robert Ricci wanted a way to re-interest the world in haute couture. He felt fashion was art, and over 150 mannequins from forty Paris coutiers were were dressed in French Fashion Houses’ creations and were exhibited at the Louve in Paris.
The mannequins toured the US as well.
It was a big hit.
Robert was also the mastermind behind the most famous Nina Ricci creation, her signature cologne. Chanel did it, why not Nina?
With bottles designed exclusively for Ricci by Marc Lalique, L’Air du Temps became one of the most popular perfumes in the world.
Nina Ricci died in 1970 at the age of 89, she had been semi-retired since the late 1950s. Robert died 18 years later, and the fashion house was taken over by Nina’s son-in-law Guy Fuchs.
The House of Nina Ricci is owned by the Catalan (Barcelona, Spain) business man, Mario Puig. Amaszingly enough, he owns the completely opposite design house, Paco Rabanne as well.
Thank goodness Guy sold it instead of changing the name!
That might be a little confusing.
And BTW, that ‘L’Air Du Temps’ thing, it means ‘The Air of Time’, not Bottle with Doves in English.
And you may wonder why this is important on this Fashion Friday; just in case you were, it’s Nina’s birthday.