MANY OF US know Lanvin as a “brand” of classic perfumes (My Sin, Arpège). But before the fragrances was, of course, Jeanne Lanvin the early-20th-century Paris fashion designer, who went from milliner to influential couturier and expanded into home fashion and, in 1924, fragrance.
Lanvin collaborated with renowned French interior designer Armand-Albert Rateau in creating the interiors of her offices and shops—and her own Paris townhouse. When that house was about to be demolished, in 1965, Lanvin’s grandson saw to it that her private apartment was taken apart and reinstalled, complete with furnishings, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. At the moment, the museum is once again locked down until further notice because of the coronavirus, but its website provides excellent images of the bedroom, boudoir and bathroom of Mme. Lanvin.
The built-ins and luxurious materials (bronze, marble, hand-embroidered fabrics re-created for the installation) make this ensemble a work of art. But it’s hardly the only one in the museum’s “collection”: There are a late-15th-century bedroom, a drawing room from 1790 and a dining room from 1920, not to mention entire rooms devoted to the evolution of seating , the move from soft-paste to hard-paste porcelain and, just simply, mahogany.
It’s not a trip into the past, or to Paris, but spending some time with Jeanne Lanvin and the other treasures of the decorative arts museum is definitely a break from the uncertain here and now.
Jeanne Lanvin apartment, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, www.madparis.fr.