Nina Ricci – INPI treasures
Nina Ricci was the one of the first designers from XIX century, with culture of great tailor and contemporary dare, who brought Italian classy looks to France. She was the first one, who brought African-inspired cocktail djellaba to French fashion in 1966. Nina Ricci left massive archives from 1883 – 1970.
Born in Turin, Italy in 1883, Maria Nielli became Nina Ricci upon arrival in Paris when she combined her nickname with her husband’s last name. Her Haute Couture house was founded in 1932, at 20 Rue de Capucines in Paris, complete with the design atelier and salons for fittings. Her technique, cuts, balance and materials conferred striking simplicity on the Nina Ricci woman.
Her son, Robert Ricci, created the Perfume department in 1941. Cœur-Joie appeared in 1946. Its bottle initiated the house’s longstanding collaboration with the crystal maker Lalique, which in 1948 created the celebrated bottle for L’Air du Temps. Crowned with crystal doves, it embodied love and liberty; the fragrance became the iconic perfume of the House.
In 1954, Jules-François Crahay, Madame Ricci’s design assistant, succeeded her as Artistic Director. The house’s style became structured; the signature curves of its silhouette elongated. The “Crocus” collection of 1959 and the celebrated suit of the same name were a triumphant success. The House went on to develop its “Mademoiselle Ricci” line, composed of demi-couture models that foreshadowed the brand’s ready-to-wear line.
Designer Gérard Pipart succeeded Jules-François Crahay in 1964. Throughout the following three decades, his Haute Couture vision celebrated a flamboyant woman and his ready-to-wear found a loyal following among the most stylish women of the day.
The House acquired its current address at 39 Avenue Montaigne in 1979. Couture and Perfumes came together under one roof, while the ground floor was dedicated to the brand new Nina Ricci boutique.
This boutique was the heart of avenue Montaigne for 42 years. Boutique Nina Ricci closed its doors in 2021. Today Nina Ricci house lost its heritage, and shade of the elegant style, giving priority to street and sport’s wear, lining up with mass-market brands.
1946.The Nina Ricci House created Coeur Joie, the House’s first perfume. Its second fragrance, L’Air du Temps, is since 1948 the iconic classic known the world over and that has withstood the tests of time and fashion.
Its fame helped consolidate the House’s international reputation. In time it was followed by three new creations: Fille d’Eve, Capricci and Farouche.
This rich heritage is still alive today and an endless source of inspiration for the brand and its perfumes.
In 1946 Nina Ricci launched her first fragrance, Coeur Joie. In 1948 Robert came up with another fragrance, L’Air du Temps, the brand’s most popular fragrance, which continues to be a top seller today. It is still in production today and remains the company’s best seller.
By the early 1950’s, Nina Ricci was nearing 70 and she slowly ceased to take an active role in design, choosing to just keep an eye on the house. Her son chose the new head designer in 1954, the Belgian Crahay. The designs of Crahay were highly praised.
Crahay left Ricci in 1963 to go to Lanvin, and was immediately replaced by Gerard Pipart, who had worked at Balmain, Fath and Jean Patou prior to his new job. He continued to carry on the name of Ricci with beautiful and elegant dresses.
After Maria Ricci’s death in 1970, Crahay was appointed head of the house. Robert continued to excel in perfumery and business until his death in 1988.
INPI keeps the industrial heritage – patents, trademarks and designs – of Nina Ricci house in its archives.
Perfumery at Nina Ricci: inventiveness and registered models.
Nina Ricci’s perfumery activity is probably the one that, along with haute-couture, contains the most deposits and inventiveness. Indeed, the only patents filed by the house concern perfumery and more specifically the packaging and marketing of products. This invention patent board represents the box serving as a showcase for the famous fragrance of the house L’Air du temps.
Nina Ricci entrusts its first bottles to the crystal maker Lalique, also a major depositor of industrial property rights. We find an example of a bottle in a model deposited by the house in 1957. If it is not the emblematic bottle of the perfume “Air du temps” and its two doves, this model illustrates the design of curved lines chosen by the house.
Among the models is also the bottle of the perfume “Premier jour” deposited in 2000. The Men’s collection is not neglected either, we thus find the bottle of the perfume “Mémoire d´homme” deposited in 2001.
In terms of bottles, the INPI also keeps other models, particularly for cosmetic uses such as an eye makeup remover or a bottle of nail polish.
Optical accessories and jewelry
The collection of designs also keeps track of other activities of the Nina Ricci house and more specifically of its jewelry activities. We thus find two models dating from 1974 for rings with patterns in the shape of a heart or shuttle.
Among the other deposits are also several eyeglass frames deposited in the 1990s.
High fashion clothing
The house’s primary haute-couture activity has not been overlooked by the industrial property titles filed by the house. We thus find in 1974 the first deposit of a model for a garment bearing the mark “N” for Nina Ricci. It is probably among these designs that we find the most feminine and delicate universe of the brand. His DNA? Romanticism, bows, ribbons and lace.
Shoes, underwear, printed fabrics, the plurality of deposits and their relatively large number shows the constant research and inventiveness of the brand in the past.
RUNWAY MAGAZINE presents INPI treasures – innovations in fashion. The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) examines and issues industrial property titles (patents, trademarks, designs and models) in France. Created in 1951 under the supervision of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, it is the heir to the institutions that have preceded it since the end of the 18th century. As such, the INPI is responsible for the management of these public archives and has thus become one of the memories of innovation in France. It watches over a rich heritage, made up of all patents since 1791, trademarks since 1857 and designs since 1910: nearly 7.5 million documents, or 145 linear kilometers carefully preserved. The fruit of generations of inventors, engineers, industrialists, creators and even artists, these archives are of unique historical and documentary interest and represent a still little-known iconographic source.