Nina Ricci (brand)
History and Operations
Nina Ricci designed gowns while Robert managed the business and finances. She worked with the fabrics directly on the mannequin to ensure they had shape once they were finished. Nina Ricci designs soon became known for the refined, romantic, always feminine feeling Maria adds to all of her collections.
In 1945, with the war over, designers were casting about for a way to revive the infatuation women had formerly had with haute couture, while raising money for war relief. Robert Ricci had an idea which Lucien Lelong, President of the Chambre, put into action. Over 150 mannequins from 40 Paris couturiers, including Balenciaga and Madame Gres, were dressed in the labels' best fashions and were placed in an exhibition held at the Louvre, in Paris. After a huge success in Paris it toured Europe and then the USA.
In 1946 Robert created his first fragrance, Coeur Joie. In 1948 Robert came up with another fragrance, L’Air du Temps, the brand's most popular fragrance, which continues to be a top seller today. Several Flight Attendant uniforms were designed by the Nina Ricci brand. Nina Ricci is also a pioneer of licensing their designs before the rise of Ready-to-wear. As early as 1960, they started licensing their patterns to upscale boutiques such as Chez Ninon in New York and Betty Clemo in Hong Kong for 'line-to-line' reproduction.
By the early 1950s Nina Ricci was nearing 70 and she slowly ceased to take an active role in design, choosing to just keep an eye on the house. Her son chose the new head designer in 1954, the Belgian Jules-Francois Crahay.
Crahay left Ricci in 1963 to go to Lanvin, and was immediately replaced by Gerard Pipart, who had worked at Balmain, Fath and Jean Patou prior to his new job. He continued to carry on the name of Ricci with beautiful and elegant dresses.
After Maria Ricci's death in 1970, Crahay was appointed head of the house. Robert continued to excel in perfumery and business until his death in 1988.
Massimo Guissain's family purchased the house of Nina Ricci in 1998 from Crahay. Massimo Guissain worked as a designer, but Nathalie Gervais had been the chief designer for the house for several years. She presented her last collection in Fall 2001. In May 2002 American designer James Aguiar took over as chief designer and designed for the House of Ricci for two seasons.
In 2003, Lars Nilsson took over the house of Ricci with shaky reviews from critics. He made a sudden redesign in early 2006, and then in September announced that Brussels-born designer Olivier Theyskens of Rochas would take over the role as head of the label. In 2009, Theyskens was replaced by designer Peter Copping, who had worked for Louis Vuitton.
Nina Ricci's most famous perfume, L'Air du Temps, created in France in 1949, means "Air of Time", capturing the passion and elegance of an emerging generation Maria and Robert Ricci headed. Robert worked with master perfumer Francis Fabron to create a scent with as much elegance as Madame Maria Ricci's clothes. Marc Lalique created the graceful twin-dove crystal bottle. Other classic Nina Ricci perfumes have included "Farouche", "Capricci", "Fleur de Fleurs" and "Eau de Fleurs"; each has had its own unique Lalique crystal pure perfume bottle. Men's fragrances have included "Signoricci", "Signoricci II" and "Phileas". More recent perfumes have included two different fragrances, both with the name "Nina", and a series of three perfumes under the name "Les Belles de Ricci". Furthermore, there have been additional fragrances with the name "Ricci Ricci", "Love in Paris" and "Premier Jour" which means "first day".
- Diderich, Joelle (11 November 2013). "Breast Behavior at Nina Ricci". WWD. Retrieved 12 November 2013.