Nina Ricci was founded by French designer Maria Ricci (1883-1970) and her son Robert in Paris in 1932. At the age of only 13 years Maria, who had the nickname "Nina", started an apprenticeship at a French dressmaker. She had a passion for fashion and in 1908 she joined the fashion house Raffin - where she stayed for 20 years as the labels head designer.
In 1932, at the age of 50 years, Maria Ricci and her son Robert started their own venture under the label "Nina Ricci". Maria Ricci was in charge of the designs while Robert managed the business' finances and operations. In 1950 Maria Ricci retried and Jules-Francois Crahay was appointed head designer. Crahay left the company in 1963 to design for Lanvin, but eventually rejoined Ricci after Maria Ricci passed away in 1970. In the mid 90s the brand struggled, but then in 1999 Canadian Nathalie Gervais, who had prevoisly designed for Gucci, reinvigorate the Nina Ricci name.
Nina Ricci became known for elegant, refined, romantic and always feminine dresses. Maria Ricci worked with the fabrics directly on the models which ensured they had shape once they were finished. In the mid 1940s the company introduced their first fragrance line. The perfume "L'Air du Temps" is a classic that is still a best-seller today. Although the company now also creates men's clothing (and even creates neckties), the label remains to be known for their women's collection.