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Ricci, Nina (Mari Nielli)

ricci’s award business house

B. 1883

D. November 29, 1970

Birthplace: Turin, Italy

Awards: Fragrance Foundation Hall of Fame Award, 1982
         Dé d’Or Award (Golden Thimble), 1987
         Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur,
         Bijorca d’Or Award, 1987, 1988
         Fragrance Foundation Perennial Success Award, 1988
         Venus de la Beauté, 1990
         Trophée International Pardum/Couture, 1991
         Prix d’Excellence “Créativitié,” 1992
         Trophée de la Beauté de Dépêche Mode, 1992
         Prix Europeen de la P.L.V., 1992
         L’Oscar du Mecenat d’Entreprises, 1993

Nina Ricci, born Maria Nielli in Turin, Italy, moved to France at age seven with her family. Ricci was drawn to the fashion business early in life; at fourteen, she apprenticed to a Parisian dressmaker, at eighteen she was head of the atelier, and at twenty-two she became the chief designer. At age forty-nine, Ricci finally decided to open her own fashion house.

Founded in 1932, Nina Ricci is one of the longest standing fashion houses in Paris. Ricci’s couture designs have long been a symbol of Parisian elegance: feminine, understated, chic designs for society women. Ricci retired in 1954, naming Jules François Crahay as head designer. In 1964 Gérard Pipart replaced Crahay as head designer. Pipart continued Ricci’s tradition of designing fashionable, feminine apparel with every gather, tuck, and drape positioned to flatter the mature figure.

Ricci’s greatest success came through her perfume business, Nina Ricci Parfums SA. Coeur-Joie was introduced in 1946, followed by L’Air du Temps in 1948, Capricci in 1961, Farouche in 1974, Signoricci in 1975, Fleur de Fleurs in 1980, Nina in 1987, and Ricci Club in 1989. L’Air du Temps, Ricci’s most successful perfume, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1998. Originally distributed through mass merchandisers like J.C. Penney’s, the scent has been repositioned for distribution through department stores. In 1993 Ricci also expanded into cosmetics and skin treatments with the line Le Teint Ricci.

The house was under the direction of Ricci’s son Robert from 1954 until his death in 1988. Robert Ricci expanded the house to include women’s ready-to-wear, menswear, lingerie, and accessories, and he contracted numerous licensing agreements. Since the late 1980s Nina Ricci has struggled through many financial difficulties. In 1998 the Sanofi Company sold their controlling interest in Nina Ricci to the Puig Group who discontinued Ricci’s signature collection, but retained production of two of the diffusion or secondary lines, and continues to concentrate on the perfume business.

Rice, Linda Johnson - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Social and Economic Impact, Chronology: Linda Johnson Rice [next]

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