Patou

LVMH-owned luxury fashion brand Patou was hugely influential post WWI with its pioneering, empowering women's collections

Categories

Fashion and Textiles  
Retail and Consumer Goods  
Summary

Founded in 1914, LVMH-owned maison Patou has been reborn under a new name: Patou. The heritage luxury fashion brand was the darling of the elite set with its empowering designs and often compared with Chanel. 


History

Patou had made his first move into the fashion world with his own small dress establishment called Parry. It was so successful that a New York retailer bought the entire collection. As a result, Patou found the courage to launch his eponymous maison in 1914. Sadly World War I brought the maison to an unexpected halt. He was drafted into the army following the breakout of the war and eventually joined the Army of the Orient in Thessaloniki as a captain in the Zouaves where he liked the traditional Greek peasant dress- with its intricate beading and hand embroidery- so much that he brought some home at the end of the war. And relaunched the luxury fashion brand with a design aesthetic informed by his travels.

The couturier wanted to free women from the restrictive clothing imposed on them up until then. He marketed dresses without corsets, shortened skirts, launched sportswear for women, jersey swimwear, sweaters with cubist-style color blocks and the silk ties. His muse- tennis champion Suzanne Lenglen- appeared on court at Wimbledon in his creation: a white knee-length pleated silk skirt, white sleeveless sweater and orange headband. It made headlines and Patou worked with French textile manufacturers Bianchini-Ferrier and Rodier to develop sportswear fabrics. By 1922 he introduced sportswear- influenced ready to wear collections and opened a specialised sportswear boutique "le coin des sports" within his couture house- presenting looks for aviation, yachting, tennis, golf, riding and fishing. 

Patou has also been credited as the creator of the triangular sports scarf worn knotted at one shoulder. Although he was renowned for chic daywear.. his evening wear was acclaimed for its intricate detailing. One of his most critically acclaimed looks was a crystal-embroidered satin evening gown worn with Turkish trousers and Capuchin hood — accessorised with fringed brocade mules. Many ensembles had lingerie detailing and Patou's new color "dark dahlia" often replaced black for formal occasions. 

The maison witnessed unprecedented success and pretty soon people were talking of Patou being in the same league as with iconic brand Chanel. Each season he provided his in-house designers with antique textiles, hand embroideries and detailed instructions for the styles and palette he wanted to develop, which he later modified till he was satisfied with the finish. Between 1919 and 1924 the house revenue dramatically increased and his store on rue Saint-Florentin Paris attracted the elite. In 1925 he opened boutiques in Monte-Carlo and New York.

When the stock market crashed in the Thirties so did the market for luxury fashion. The House of Patou survived through its diversification into fragrance. "Joy"- the most expensive perfume in the world created by perfumer Henri Alméras to relaunch the luxury brand. Within his couture house he installed a cubist-style bar with a "bartender" who mixed bespoke perfumes. It was a hit with the jet set including Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedy. In 1928, Patou conceived “Huile de Chaldée”, the first sun tan lotion.There was no looking back. Jean Patou welcomed the heroines of the era to the headquarters of his Maison on rue St. Florentin, including Louise Brooks, Joséphine Baker and Mistinguett, as well as tennis champion Suzanne Lenglen and music hall stars the  Dolly Sisters.

However his death in 1936 from a stroke brought the adventure to an end. After the shock of his passing- his sister Madeleine Patou and her husband Raymond Barbas took over the reins of the house. Marc Bohan took over the artistic direction in 1954 and subsequently the maison has seen some of the greatest names of fashion at its helm including Karl Lagerfeld, Michel Goma, Jean Paul Gaultier, Angelo Tarlazzi and Christian Lacroix. After Christian Lacroix left to launch his own fashion brand.. the Jean Patou house ceased much of its activity.

Jean Patou was acquired in 2018 by the LVMH group - which signed a strategic agreement with Designer Parfums to take over the clothing division. The luxury fashion brand also unveiled a new visual identity and shortened the name to 'Patou'. Sidney Toledano appointed Guillaume Henry as artistic director.. entrusting him with the task of relaunching his women's ready-to-wear lines.

Sustainability and eco-consciousness is one of the brand's pillars. More than sixty per cent of the ready-to-wear collection is made with organic cotton and recycled wool combined with other natural and organic fibres. For example the denim is made in organic cotton and t-shirts, sweatshirts, polos are a hundred pr cent organic cotton manufactured in Portugal to reduce its CO2 impact with transport. The brand does not use fur and uses only upcycled leather coming from high end leather dead stocks to produce its handbags. And- in order to reduce its environmental impact, 90 per dent of the samples developed are produced, limiting the use of unnecessary materials and prototypes.


Vision

Founder Jean Patou envisioned the luxury fashion brand as "elegance- beauty- fine arts- and fantasy.. in these four words you'll find my collections." Today Patou embodies Parisian chic- glamour- modernity and a sense of humor … and Artistic Director Guillaume Henry strives to create collections that are eco-responsible and impeccably crafted.


Key Team

Sophie Brocart (CEO)

Guillaume Henry (Artistic Director)


Recognition and Awards
2000: “Joy” was voted “Scent of the Century” at Fragrance Foundation FiFi Awards, beating “Chanel No. 5”.

Products and Services

Luxury fashion brand Patou retailed ready to wear for women- accessories- footwear- bags- fragrance


References
Patou
Leadership team

Sophie Brocart (CEO)

Guillaume Henry (Artistic Director)

Industries

Fashion and Textiles

Retail and Consumer Goods

Products/ Services
ready to wear for women- accessories- footwear- bags- fragrance
Headquarters
24, rue Jean Goujon 75008 Paris – France
Company Registration
831 242 359
Social Media

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Sun Mar 03 2024
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