By: Hailey Sands
Have you ever flipped through the pages of Vogue and stopped dead in your tracks because you’ve seen the most beautiful garment in the history of mankind? Chances are that you’ve stumbled upon anything by Nina Ricci. I know I’ve been there all too many of times. Nina Ricci is a prestigious name in the fashion industry, creating garments of impeccable quality. The story behind the Ricci House is just as remarkable.
Born in 1883 by the name Maria Nielli, moved to France from her home in Italy twelve years later. It was there that she be began apprenticing as a dressmaker and by 18 became the head of the salon. By 22 she was their chief designer, and this was before women were considered equals in the workforce, so bow down. She had been designing for Raffin 20 years before her son convinced her to open her own house in 1932, at the age of 50. It was huge success, as in her house occupied 11 floors in 3 different buildings, during a time of war. It’s safe to say that Madame Ricci wasn’t a businesswoman, she was a business, woman.
Nina’s style was elegant, feminine, and luxurious, making gowns cut on the bias and accentuating the female body. Nina was a known for, “echoing the X-cross in the skirt pattern in the surplice, [and] crossed-over treatment of the bodice.” She was also as couture as it got. After WWII ended, son Robert had an idea to raise money for war relief which included, “172 dolls from 40 Paris couturiers, including Balenciaga and Madame Gres, dressed in the latest fashions and an exhibition was held at the Louvre, in Paris.” By 1950, Nina was 70 and wasn’t able to design any longer; Jules-Francois Crahay was brought in as head designer four years later. In 1963 Crahay left the house and Gerard Pipart, who’s resume included Balmin, Fath and Jean Patou, was brought in. Madame Ricci died in 1970 at the age of 87, and the house continued to be designed by Pipart.
In 2003, Lars Nilsson became the creative designer, showing his first collection for house at Paris Fashion Week. He has some big (and fabulous) shoes to fill, but was successful in his endeavors. The designs were wispy, feminine, and sexy, not nearly as tailored as Ricci was in her day, yet the collection was on point with the direction of the times.
Today, Nina Ricci is still a powerhouse (pun intended). Recently departed (allegedly for the top spot Oscar de la Renta) creative director, Peter Copping, has brought glory to the Ricci Name. For the past five years he’s stayed true to the essences of the brand, bringing romance and femininity to the runway. Ricci is still amongst the biggest names in fashion with designs so impeccable they could bring tears to your eyes. But if your eyes fill with tears looking at price, maybe her perfume, L’Air du Temps, would be suitable.
- Nina Ricci (n.d.). In org. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from http://fashion-forum.org/fashion-designers/nina-ricci.html
- Nina Ricci Fashion Designer (n.d.). In Fashion Informant. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from http://fashion.infomat.com/nina-ricci-designer.html
- Phelps, N. (2014, September 25). Nina Ricci: Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear. In com. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from http://www.style.com/fashion-shows/spring-2015-ready-to-wear/nina-ricci/
- *All photos taken from Style.com *