Nina Ricci - How She Came to be A Top Designer
In 1883 in Turin, Italy Maria Nielli was born. In 1895 when Maria was 12, her family moved to France. When she was 13, she apprenticed to a dressmaker. At the age of 18 Maria had become the head of the salon and at the age of 22 she was their chief designer. In 1904 she married a jeweler named Luigi Ricci. In 1905 she gave birth to their son Robert. In 1908 Nina joined the house of Raffin as a designer where she stayed for 20 years.
At age 50, in 1932, Madame Ricci opened her own house with her son Robert. It was the House of Ricci. Robert ran the business and Madame Ricci created the garments. During the 1930's the business grew very quickly. Beginning as a one room operation it grew to consume 11 floors in 3 buildings.
Nina Ricci created elegant, sophisticated garments in a classic style. She was well known for her high quality garments becoming very popular with older society women. She was highly talented at getting the most out of every print. Both her evening and day dresses were designed to draw attention to the female figure.
In 1963 Crahay left Ricci and was replaced by Gerard Pipart, who had worked with Balmain, Fath and Jean Patou. In the traditional Ricci style, he designed beautiful lace dresses with appliquйd fabrics.
At the age of 87 Nina Ricci died in 1970. Pipart continued designing for the house of Ricc. Robert, Nina's son was not only an excellent business person, he was an expert perfumer. He has transformed the house into a size Nina would never imagined possible.
At age 83 in 1988, Robert Ricci died. In 1998 Mariano Puig, of the Catalan family purchased the house of Nina Ricci in 1998. They also owns the house of Paco Rabanne.
Nathalie Gervais presented her last collection in the fall of 2001. In 2002 American designer James Aguiar became chief designer, designing for two seasons.
During the Parish Fashion Week October 2003 Lars Nilsson a Swedish designer showed his first Nina Ricci collection for the following spring. He again presented the Ricci collection in Paris during Fashion Week in March 2004.
Lars said that he wanted to add some substance to a the younger woman's wardrobe. His collection was mostly flimsy dresses, stylish sweaters and skits with in fresh in yellow, blue and orange colors. He was distinguished by his fresh Swedish outerware.
Lars is very quickly transforming the old couture house into a young woman's world, enticing a new younger clientele. Sleek jackets, cropped sleeves, tiered skirts, and dainty party dresses have all been added. In March 2005 Lars Nillson once again showed the collection for the house of Nina Ricci at the Paris Fashion Week.
Soft and feminine dresses as light as lingerie mixed with fur jackets for the cold. There was also an addition of renaissance sleeves, long tweed jackets, and sporty jackets . However the collection still mainly consisted of soft piece - fragile blouse with lace, feminine evening gowns, and strapless satin evening dresses.
Beautiful flower prints symbolic of the Nina Ricci house were seen ranging from the tree of life to autumn leaves revealing of his Swedish background. The 2005 spring collection reads like a revamped modern fairy tale! Nina Ricci would be proud!