|PARIS, Mar 10, 2001 (Updated May 12, 2009) / FW/ — Italian by birth (born in Turin Italy, 1883) and French by upbringing (moved to France in 1900), Nina Ricci founded her company in 1932 when she was 49 years old. Together with her son Robert, they started in a one-room atelier wherein in 7 years, the business had expanded to occupy 3 buildings.
Nina Ricci started as an apprentice dressmaker at 14 in Paris. When she was 18, she was already designing and selling her creations to other fashion houses. Her genius does not lie in making something revolutionary, but more on making the female forrm more feminine.
Leaning on haute couture during that time, Nina Ricci is a master of draping and can make a dress very special to her wealthy client by adding something special in the detailing for the wearer that makes the dress her own. There is always ease of movement in her clothes, yet keeping its femininity. In short, it was the woman wearing it that made the clothes.
Like almost all of the Parisian fashion houses, the maison also suffered during World War II but it made its fortune once again in 1948 when the house launched the fragrance L’Air Du Temps, which up to today is one of the world’s most famous perfumes.
When Nina Ricci retired during the 1950s, her son Robert took over the business. An astute business and a perfumer, he expanded the business by adding fragrances in their product lines and licensing the name Nina Ricci to other manufacturers.
Nina Ricci who passed away in 1970 witnessed during her lifetime the international recognition of her business, she was no longer around when their headquarters moved to the fashionable Avenue Montaigne. Her son Robert brought the name Nina Ricci to new heights. He passed away in 1988.
Ten years after Robert’s death, the Puigs, a mega-wealthy Barcelona family, who also own Paco Rabanne, acquired Nina Ricci in 1998.
Nathalie Gervais and Massimo Giussani worked as Creative Directors for the house’s Ready-To-Wear section. Gervais left Nina Ricci after presenting her Fall 2001 collection and Giussani took over the helm of the House.
Giussani left a year later and the company hired American-born James Aguiar as creative director of women’s ready-to-wear and accessories on May 2002. He only stayed for 2 seasons.
Lars Nilsson, formerly of Bill Blass was hired on as Creative Director in April 2002. After Lars Nilsson’s tenure, Olivier Theyskens became Creative Director. He stayed March 2009. Peter Copping took the creative helm in May 2009.
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