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Fashion Designer Madame Carven Dies at Age 105

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Madame Carven

The legendary Parisian designer passed Monday afternoon.

Marie-Louise Carven (born Carmen de Tommasso), founder of the French couture house Carven, died Monday afternoon in Paris at age 105. She died of natural causes, a rep for Carven confirmed with Pret-a-ReporterWWD first reported the news.

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The 5'1" atelier launched her line in 1945 with the aim of providing couture clothing to fit petite women. “I decided to make haute couture outfits in my size because I was too short to wear the creations of the top couturiers, who only ever showed their designs on towering girls,” she remarked in 1950. Known for her "practical and young" style, Carven soon became one of Paris' leading designers, joining the ranks of fellow contemporary female couturiers Elsa Schiaparelli and Gabrielle Chanel.

But it wasn't just the high-fashion world that Carven managed to dazzle. The couturier created outfits for several major airlines in the '60s and was later commissioned by the city of Paris to dress its female traffic wardens. Other buzz-worthy marketing moments include an air-drop of samples of her Ma Griffe fragrance tied to tiny parachutes over Paris, a line of crinoline dresses inspired by Gone with the Wind that she showed in movie theatres across France, and the staging of international shows in exotic locales including Thailand, Egypt and Mexico, to name a few. 

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In 2009 at age 100, the legendary designer was made Commander of the Legion of Honor, France's highest civilian distinction.

Following Guillaume Henry's departure from the label for a position at Nina Ricci earlier this year, the 70-year-old brand appointed Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud as new artistic directors who continue Madame Carven's legacy of elegance and luxury.

 

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