WWD broke the news early this morning of Marie-Louise Carven-Gorg’s passing in her home in Paris. Known as the founder and couturier behind her label Carven, she was one of the rare women couturiers in the ’50s, along with Elsa Schiaparelli and Gabrielle Chanel. Her contemporaries also included Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain.
Born Carmen de Tommaso, she came up with the name Carven by combining her first name with the surname of her aunt Josy Boyriven, who first introduced her to couture. The only problem was, however, was that at five-foot-one, she was too short to wear haute couture. So the architecture graduate of the Beaux-Arts in Paris decided to make her own.
Soon, stars like Edith Piaf, Cécile Aubry, Leslie Caron, Michèle Morgan, began wearing her clothes. In the ’60s she designed uniforms for more than 20 airlines, and in the ’70s she dressed female traffic wardens. It was also said that her aesthetic of nipped waists and draped necklines influenced the costumes costume designer Edith Head created in Hitchcock films Rear Window and Vertigo.
The Carven brand eventually branched out to a Carven Junior line, bridal gowns, fragrances, ready-to-wear, and even lingerie. In 2009, she was awarded Commander of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest civilian honor.
In 2008, Carven was acquired by Société Béeranger where it was reinvented as a contemporary brand under artistic director Guillaume Henry and chief executive officer Henri Sebaoun. After Henry decamped to Nina Ricci, the brand appointed Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud to succeed him.
In Manila, the first and only Carven boutique is located on the ground floor of the East Wing of Shangri-La Plaza Mall, along Shaw boulevard and EDSA, Mandaluyong. It opened in April of last year.