Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chez Lanvin par Rateau

Many of us I am sure (being the voyeurs that we are) have always wanted to know, how some of
the most famous designers and personalities of history lived at home? We have seen their ‘public’ side however one always wants to know what were they like at home? For some there was very little distinction between home and ‘work’ so to speak. Such was the case with Jeanne Lanvin.

A lot of us who have been fortunate enough to have travelled to Paris no doubt have visited the
Musée des Arts Décoratifs. When Lanvin’s original residence was taken down in 1965, the complete decoration and furniture of the boudoir, bedroom and bathroom was saved and given to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs where the spaces have been recreated.

The interiors decorated by Armand-Albert Rateau in the 1920s are a lavishly Art Deco styled heaven and oasis of femininity.

Rateau also designed Lanvin’s fashion house and managed the Lanvin-Décoration department of interior design (established 1920) in the main store on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

He also designed the Lanvin spherical La Boule perfume flaçon for Arpège about 1925–34.

Lanvin was one of the first along with Poiret in capitalizing on the whole "lifestyle look”.
Living by example Lanvin used Rateau to decorate her private residence.

The interior design of her private quarters although classed as Art Deco, is quite removed from what we know today as quintessential Art deco. With hues of cornflower blue, known at the time as ‘Lanvin Blue’ and some remarkable bronze furniture, the interior was were more refined and individual than the current trends.

Lanvin blue was the basis for her bedroom in a monochromatic color scheme, and it achieves a striking yet reserved effect. The white-silk-embroidered fabric used on the walls, draperies
and bedding was made by the same seamstresses that embellished her robes de style, and add a sense of cohesion to the room.

The living room was decorated in a similar vein, which gave the whole apartment of cohesion.

The bathroom in stark contrast is something that could have been a relic from ancient Rome. The chic mixture of black and white tiles on the floor in a mosaic pattern is quintessential art deco. Again the fixtures were designed by Rateau, with accessories also including the spherical Arpege bottle.

Rateau's specialty was the creation of luxurious objects using a deliberately restricted but striking mix of materials which was influenced by disparate sources such as, the Wierner Werkstaette in Austria and the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy.

These preserved interiors not only give us a glimpse into the private world of one of the great couturiers of the twentieth century. Although some may argue that these interiors may not be
as refined and elegant than say the private apartments of Chanel, I tend to disagree. Whereas Chanel was trying hard to forge an identity for herself, Lanvin had already found hers.

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