Nina Ricci (brand)
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|Subsidiary of Puig since 1998|
|Founder||Maria "Nina" Ricci|
History and Operations
The haute couture house was founded in 1932. Nina Ricci designed gowns while her son Robert Ricci 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 1941, Robert Ricci created an in-house perfume division.
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.
In the early 1960s, a couturier from Melbourne Australia, Elvie Hill, secured a contract to reproduce Nina Ricci for the local Australian market. This proved to be a short-lived partnership as Australian women struggled to fit into the petite and very fitted designs from the Paris fashion house.
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.
Massimo Guissaini's family purchased the house of Nina Ricci in 1998 from Crahay. Massimo Guissaini 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 2003, Lars Nilsson took over the house of Ricci with rave reviews from critics. While his role would also involve providing creative input on the beauty side of the business, his primary task was the injection of a dose of excitement, youth and energy into the somewhat dormant fashion and accessories lines. 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.
Nina Ricci's most famous perfume, L'Air du Temps, created in France in 1948, 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". Additional fragrances have been added to the line, including "Ricci Ricci," "Love in Paris," "Premier Jour," "Les Delices," "Nina L'Elixir," "Nina L'Eau," and "Nina."
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