Maria Nina Ricci (January 14, 1883 – November 30, 1970) was a French fashion designer who was born in Turin.
Maria Nielli (her maiden name) and her family moved to Florence when she was five years old. Subsequently, her family moved to France in 1895 when she was 12. At the age of 13, she was apprenticed to a dressmaker and by 18 had become the head of the salon and by 22 it’s chief designer.
In 1904 she married a jeweller named Luigi Ricci and they had a son named Robert in 1905.
She became an apprentice in a Paris couture house in 1900, joined Raffin in 1908, and stayed with him for 20 years, eventually becoming his partner.
The house of Nina Ricci was founded by Maria Ricci and her son Robert in Paris in 1932.
Maria was 49 years old at the time, and after working at Raffin for so many years was itching to design her own creations. Madame Ricci designed gowns while Robert managed the business and finances. She worked with the fabrics directly on the mannequinto ensure they had the right shape once they were finished. Nina Ricci designs soon became known for their refined, romantic, always feminine feeling that Maria imparted to all of her collections.
The House of Nina Ricci grew rapidly throughout the thirties and their one-room maison de couture became 11 floors in 3 buildings, operations developed by WWII to include leather goods and fashion accessories.