The oldest of eleven children, Jeanne Lanvin began to work at the age of 13 as a messenger carrying hat boxes for a milliner. At eighteen, in 1885, she established herself as a milliner, and by 23, she was a fashion designer. She launched her first haute couture collection in 1909 and was in the height of her success in the 1920s.
Lanvin met Armand Albert Rateau through couturier and painter Paul Poiret and soon began a professional relationship with him that would last throughout the 1920s. Lanvin founded Lanvin Décoration with Rateau as the firm's director, and during his time there, Rateau decorated the auditorium of the Daunou Theater as well as the interiors for Lanvin Sport and Lanvin Homme. Rateau was also responsible for the Lanvin exhibition space for the 1925 Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. In 1927, Rateau even designed the famous boule noir bottle for Lanvin's "Arpège" perfume.
From 1920-1922, Rateau undertook the interior decoration of Lanvin's hôtel particulier on the rue Barbet-de-Jouy. The grand salon, with its intricately carved wood paneling, adjoined the more subdued and traditonal library. The dining room was sumptuously decorated with black and gold lacquer panels on the walls, gilt chairs, and a black marble table top. The magnificent bedroom he created, featuring Lanvin's favorite shade of blue on the walls and daisies, in honor of Lanvin's daughter Marguerite, throughout the decoration, was acquired by the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris in 1985 where it was once again installed.
Rateau also worked on the interior decoration and garden furniture for Lanvin's other homes in Deauville and Vésinet, a suburb of Paris. Lots 56 and 57 were originally in Lanvin's Vésinet home. See Christie's, New York, November 29, 1999, lots 105 and 106 for a cast-iron fireback and a pair of gilt metal roundels also from Lanvin's Vésinet residence.
caption: View of Jeanne Lanvin's bedroom in her townhouse on the rue Barbet-de-Jouy, 1920-22, designed by Rateau. This bedroom has been re-assembled in the Musée des Arts décoratifs. Photo courtesy of the Musée des Arts décoratifs.
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Like many of Rateau's designs for Lanvin, the mirror includes an homage to Lanvin's daughter Marguerite in the form of a stylized daisy.