Nina Ricci

Born: Turin, Italy, 1883
Died: Paris, France, 1970

Designer Biography Nina Ricci

Copyright © AFP / J. Cuinières / Roger-Viollet

Nina Ricci moved with her family to France in 1895 aged 12. When Ricci was 13 she began an apprenticeship with a dressmaker. With her interest in fashion steadily growing she married an Italian jeweller, Luigi Ricci, in 1904. Four years later Ricci joined a fashion house, where she worked as a designer for 20 years.

Ricci founded the Nina Ricci house in 1932 with the help of her husband. The house grew rapidly and soon the one room business expanded to three buildings over 11 floors.

After the Second World War Ricci’s son Robert, who was taking care of the business side of the company, organised over 150 mannequins from forty Paris couturiers including themselves, Cristóbal Balenciaga and Madame Gres. Dressed in the labels’ best designs, they were exhibited at the Louvre. With the idea being to revive the popularity of haute couture, the event was so successful it toured Europe and then the U.S.

The first fragrance, named ‘Colour Joie’, was released in 1946. Two years later another called ‘L’Air du Temps’ was released.

By the 1950s Ricci took a back role in the business. Her son appointed a new head designer, Jules-Francois Crahay, in 1954.

Crahay left Ricci in 1963 and was replaced by Gerard Pipart.

Nina Ricci died on the 30th November 1970 aged 87. After her death Crahay returned and was appointed head of the Nina Ricci house. Robert Ricci continued to run the business until he died in 1988. The company was then taken over by Ricci’s son in-law, Gilles Fuchs.

The business was bought by Massimo Guissain in 1998.Then  followed a succession of head designers including Nathalie Gervais, James Aquiar, Lars Nilsson, Oliver Theyskens and finally Peter Copping in 2009.

Nina Ricci gave the respected house a grounding of impeccable taste and French refinement. Ricci was known for her technical skills and high standards that have transmuted throughout the years via the various designers at the label. The house offers elegant clothes that give a complete look which are both feminine and relaxed.

During a fashion show in 2013, Nina Ricci designs faced an incident when they were targeted by bare-breasted Femen protesters, who disrupted the event and grabbed model Hollie-May Saker.

In August 2018, Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, menswear designers, took over as Creative Directors of the brand. However, they left their positions in January 2022.

In September 2022, Harris Reed, a London-based designer known for his gender-fluid designs, was appointed as the new Creative Director of Nina Ricci.

Nina Ricci’s most renowned perfume is “L’Air du Temps,” which was created in France in 1948 and symbolises the passion, love, and elegance of the emerging generation led by Maria and Robert Ricci. The perfume was crafted by master perfumer Francis Fabron and presented in a graceful twin-dove crystal bottle designed by Marc Lalique.

Nina Ricci Biography

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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

4 thoughts on “Nina Ricci

  1. I’m considering the purchase of a scarf from consignment. It is not new said to be Nina Ricci. Its ThredUP so it’s respected. They have the scarf listed on sale currently for minor snag. Can I get some help verifying before I buy it? I think it’s beautiful but I’m also interested in the story.

  2. I think she is best designer because of her efforts and her relatives efforts the company is here:-) I am also doing fashion designing course I hope I will success in my kife…..thanku

  3. I think she is best designer because of her efforts and her relatives efforts the company is here:-) I am also doing fashion designing course I hope I will success in my life…..thanku

  4. Hei. Jeg er født i 1964. Da jeg var 16 år dro min eldre søster til Oslo og fikk jobb på parfymeri. Jeg fikk en liten flaske Nina Ricci L’Air da Temps i gave, og siden har det vært min yndlingsparfyme, og jeg har tatt vare på alle de fine tomme flaskene.

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