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April 18, 2008

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I agree with you that there is no "right" way for a woman to start a business or to become successful, but I think your first sentence tells you why Merceron thinks as he does. I don't think it's uncommon for biographers to identify so strongly with their subjects that they become partisan.

Going slightly off topic, I couldn't remember early Lanvin, but your post made me curious and I found this
gorgeous dress from 1934. Different from Chanel, but modern too, and I like the drama and structure.

Do you remember the BBC series
The House of Eliott that PBS showed here in the '90's? Your story of the two women building their fashion business reminded me of it, --I thought it was a pretty good picture of the era.

OK, I managed to get the links right, but please forgive the dorkiness on the spacing.

The links were perfect, thank you! That dress is gorgeous and interestingly, it reminds of a Chanel dress that I have on a postcard in my collection of fashion cards (I will scan and post it but I have to find it first and I am caught up with making my house ready for Passover). It's a black sequined gown that has a matching capelet with a red lining and I believe it is also from the 30's but I will check that. Thank you for making me have to go through all my cards-I'm going to enjoy that very much.
I remember being GLUED to the television watching The House of Eliott and I came across it again recently-I'm going to get the DVD! If you like the fashions of the 20's and 30's may I ask if you know about E.F. Benson's Lucia series?? There are several books but the BBC mini series has the most AMAZING costumes and I watch the DVD's over and over again! The books and DVD's are a hoot! Suburban London life, 20's slang and costumes, over the top hysterical and fabulous characters who are charters in the true sense of the word-they are nuts (but in a totally good way)!

Hi Jennifer,

I certainly did not mean to upset you by my comments, but I think there has been a little misunderstanding mixed in to the preerence of Chanel.

I would not have cared if Chanel made a loan from a bank or a friend or her mother, like Poiret. The point is that Lanvin was self-made from the ground up, literally.

I would love to have a conversation about this. Nothing this fun or inspiring has cropped up from this book and I am always willing to hear someone else's opinion on things. I could learn something.

Dean, you have made a dreadful rainy Monday appear sunny! I'm so thrilled you found this as I felt so unfinished the night of your lecture. Talking about fashion's history with someone as educated as you are will be a fabulous experience for me and I'm glad you're saying it will be fun for you too.

First, thank you for opening the world of Lanvin for me and I have read more pages of your book now so know even more about her work. I have also seen her apartment as it's represented at the Louvre and adored it so getting to know her better has been wodnerful (I actually went for the Balenciaga show).

All, I'm asking for now is, why does it matter from where either of them got their start-up money? Why even talk about that? So many of the women who were courtiers (I have since learned much about Madame Gres as well) were brilliant designers, fabulous characters and quite successful. While each certainly had flaws (though I can think of no flaw Chanel might have had-hahahaha) I would so love to concentrate on the work, on the clothes-many of which were cutting edge in the early 1900's but remain timeless and wearable even today. How many young and even how many established designers borrow from Lanvin, Chanel, from Madame Gres-from all of them really. Couture from about 1905-1947 (when that Dior creature took it all away) was a prolific time for women in the business and for women in general-probably the most successful time for business women in all of history until today (and even today, so many of the new on the verge of success designers are men).

I'm so looking forward to continuing this...

Jennifer, I started responding to your statement writing to approach allof your valid points and then I lost the whole thing after 45 minutes of typing.

let me get back to you when I can really re-write this whole thing as coherently as I wish it to be. I will not forget you.

Thanks for waiting

Dean Merceron

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