Lanvin was named after the company's founder, Jeanne Lanvin. Mrs Lanvin had no background in fashion design - although she had a passion for fabrics, colors, and tailoring. Although she had no formal training, she enjoyed creating dresses for her daughter Marie-Blanche Lanvin. The dresses were decorated with intricate trimmings and detailed embroidery, a look that, many believe, was influenced by a childhood trip to Spain.
The dresses she created started to attract the attention of noble and upper-class people in Paris, who requested dresses to be made for their children first and later on also for themselves. By 1909 Lanvin's focus switched from children's to women's clothing, and by 1926 Lanvin offered quite an extensive clothing line included men's clothing, fragrances, accessories, and women's sportswear.
One of her most well known creations was the fragrance called "Arpège", created in 1927. Just like her first clothing, the fragrance was made as a gift for her daughter. It is said that Lanvin created "Arpège", a mix of honeysuckle, jasmine, and patchouli, out of inspiration of her daughters beautiful opera singing. This fragrance was relaunched in 1994 and is still one of the company's best-sellers.
Jeanne Lanvin died at the age of 79 in 1946. Her daughter took over the company until it was bought by Orcofi and L'Oreal (the French holding company led by the Vuitton family) in 1889. In 2001 Lanvin was made private again by a Taiwanese investment firm.