“Couture brought me happiness, they were the best years of my life,” Madame Carven recalls with a smile at a celebration to mark her approaching 100th birthday in 2009. A diminutive 1.55m (five foot one) in her stockinged feet, for half a century she was the favourite designer of petite women.
In recognition of her contribution to fashion and imminent birthday on Aug 31, the French Federation of Couture threw a party for her in the gardens of the Musee Galliera at the end of the haute couture shows for next winter.
In 1945 Madame Carven opened her fashion house at n¡6, Rond Point des Champs Elysees in Paris.
The address of this the head office has never changed.
Carven have much to be proud of and has built an excellent reputation over the years dressing queens, princesses and empresses not to mention the post-war stars of the screen.
The 1950’s saw the development of Carven men with the first fashion collection of mens silk neckties and the launch of “Vetiver” perfume, still their most popular fragrance for men. This was a logical support to “Ma Griffe” a female fragrance launched in the 1940’s.
Carven style was adapted for the growing airline industry of the 1960’s as the Carven Uniforms division was established and catered for numerous airlines. At this stage of its evolution Carven was able to focus on the growing market for accessories with the creation of Carven Costume jewellery.
As the 1970s progressed Carven cemented its national position and pushed its boundaries internationally. Japan in particular in the early 1970’s was a strong market for Carven, with Japanese women the cut and comfort of the Carven style very much to their taste. This decade saw the launch of Carven accessories and luggage in Japan . Following the success of Carven in the 1960’s Air France asked Carven to create their uniforms. To this day, Air France personnel are still dressed by Carven, as do some French Rail Staff.
Carven in the 1980s developed licences for ready-to-wear and accessories for men and women throughout the globe. Carven diversified bringing out a line of golfwear for men and women as the sport gained popularity in France.
In 1991 Carven’s Ready-to-Wear for Women, a stylish, high quality range of fashionable clothing at accessible prices was launched.At this time a restructuring of the company took place with each division coming under one central management for the first time in years. Carven possessing a culture of diversification has now has Carven’s luxury goods for the home, which includes porcelain, carpets and furniture, as well as a drinks line that includes Carven Champagne , Carven Cognac and Liqueur au Cognac . That year also, “Vetiver” repackaged and celebrating its 40th birthday. Carven Menswear opened a boutique at the Rond Point the same year and a pure gold and silver jewellery collection is launched.
The 1990s saw Carven infiltrate the Asian markets with licence agreement in China , Taiwan and Vietnam . As the 1990’s drew to a close a revival of Carven’s Haute Couture activity was well underway,as new Artistic Director, Mr Edward Achour oversaw the development of a new line of women’s ready-to-wear.