I'm not exactly too sure how I came upon small French label Carven but you can say I am completely in love with its design and its fall 2011 is to die for. They have their Spring 2012 out already for viewing on their website, but since it's just February and cold outside, I'm still in the mood for heavy winter coats and thick layers. I can write about Spring 2012 when I'm feeling more up to short skirts and lighter fabrics. I think the reason why I'm all over their F/W 2011 collection is because it's the perfect potpourri of all the incredible elements of my favourite brands: Céline, Prada, Miu Miu, Marni, Proenza Schouler + etc. Everything at first looks rather traditional in being conservative and tailored yet the more you look at it, the more unexpectedly quirky and awesome it becomes. I love it when the designs aren't flashy and bordering on almost plain at a first glance, and where the devil is more in the detail, the construction, in the between the seams. There is this old school girl vibe that I totally dig complete with the plaid, the leather satchel and loafers, which reminds me of the awesome issue of Self Service a little while back.
Given how small the label is, it's actually unexpectedly quite hard to find some info about it, even with the internet. So far the best info I can find is from its website (in French):
Depuis son origine en 1945, la maison Carven a offert une vision démocratique et parisienne de la mode. Madame Carmen de Tommaso est arrivée en novatrice dans le monde austère de la haute couture des années 40 avec la fraicheur et la spontanéité d’un style proche du quotidien des femmes de l’époque.And from a website that hasn't been updated since 2004, but still looks quite accurate:
Established in 1945 by Madame Carven, wife of Swiss industrialist Réné Grog (1896-1981), the House of Carven originally catered to the petite woman.I guess the reason why it's still such a small label is because there was just so much competition in Paris right after the war with Givenchy, Balenciaga, Dior and Chanel still reigning supreme. I like the small scale of its operations however, in that it can grow on its own pace, develop its own sense of aesthetics etc... so please don't tell me it's already bought by LVMH or PPR or some big luxury conglomerate because that would break me teenage heart.
The move was bold and innovative during that time. Niche market targeting was almost unheard of. But Madame Carven who stood only 1m55 believed that petite woman should be able to dress up well also.
Through the years, the House of Carven has expanded its reach, and currently designs, manufactures and markets a line of ready-to-wear and accessories for women, apparel and accessories for men plus fragrance and perfumes.
With a new(ish) head designer Guillaume Henry who has worked in past with Givenchy, Carven's popularity is set to skyrocket in popularity. Not that I want the brand to sellout anytime soon, but I really do want all the success the label deserves. On a superficial note, the designer's super easy on the eyes and like if Nicolas Ghesquière and Christopher Bailey had a baby, it would be Guillaume! Regardless, I like the direction Henry is heading with it, even if its not entirely original. I can only imagine how exciting the label will become as Henry carves out a niche for himself on the Parisian fashion landscape. While it will continue to be a small quiet label for the time being, I definitely will be keeping an eye on it and surely will be talking about it a lot more in future posts.