House of Duvelleroy
History and rebirth of a Parisian hand-fan house
1827, FOUNDING OF THE ORIGINAL DUVELLEROY FAN HOUSE IN PARIS
Duvelleroy began with Jean-Pierre Duvelleroy’s dream: to bring fans back into women’s hands. The Duchess de Berry organised a sumptuous ball which made this happen: one dance and fans were back and that was the start for the house of Duvelleroy.
1851, UNIVERSAL EXHIBITION, FIRST PRIZE AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE
in London, with a hand-fan made for Queen Victoria From then on, the delicacy in the making of the fans – representative of the French Couture savoir-faire – grant the original house with many gold medals. Fathers and sons received the Légion d’Honneur, the Greatest Order of Merit for in France.
1850s, SUPPLIER TO THE QUEENS
Over this decade, Jean-Pierre Duvelleroy was appointed supplier to various courts, starting with Queen Victoria. The original house also created Eugénie de Montijo’s fan for her wedding with Napoleon III and supplied the city of Paris with presents for the spouses of statesmen during their official visits in France, for example the Empress of Austria, the Queen of Sweden, the Queen of Denmark or the Queen of Bulgaria. Parisian beauties, trendsetters of their time such as the Comtesse de Greffulhe, also fancied holding the maison’s hand-fans in their hands.
ART NOUVEAU (CIRCA 1895 – 1914), KEY STYLISTIC PERIOD FOR THE ORIGINAL MAISON
The Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau open a flourishing creative era for the Georges Duvelleroy, the heir of Jean-Pierre. Artists such as Billotey, Louise Abbéma or Maurice Leloir contribute to the creations, introducing the vegetal world, organic and curvy, representative if the Art Nouveau style. During that period two house emblems were born: the “Balloon” Fan, named after the aerial shape of its leaf and the daisy as a signature, stamped on each rivet. By the end of the XIXth century, the Maison starts collaborating with renowned illustrators as Paul Iribe, Gendrot, Gicar create advertising hand-fans for great names of the luxury world such as the Ritz.
THE LANGUAGE OF THE FAN
The London house gathers and publishes a leaflet detailing and explaining the coded gestures to express discreetly things like “I love you” drawing the fan across the cheek or “Follow me” carrying the fan in the right hand in front of her face… thus illustrating the playful and mischievous spirit of the Maison.
DUVELLEROY, CREATOR OF OBJECTS
As a complement to hand-fans, Duvelleroy provides clients with all the accessories required by an elegant life (evening purses, binoculars for the Opera…) featuring the best and most innovative crafts of the time. From the patented “Tom Pouce” binoculars to the tassels used to hang fans for belts, or the registered design of the trophy fans, the maison innovates following the guidance of Georges Duvelleroy.
AFTER WWI, CHANGE OF ERA, CHANGE OF ACTIVITY
World War I marks the end of a certain world and its way of life: fabric hand-fans decline in favour of advertising ones. The Ostrich fans remain in fashion thanks to the taste of the “Garconnes” of the roaring 20s. Duvelleroy manufactures the white ostrich feather fan worn by the Queen of Egypt Farida Zulfikar at her wedding with King Farouk in 1938. Georges Duvelleroy passes on his savoir-faire and knowledge to Madeleine Boisset, painter and fan maker, while his daughter takes over the direction of the company. The evening bags become the major part of the Maison’s creations and enable to maintain the activity.
1940-1981, FAN-MAKING AT THE AGE OF AIR CONDITIONING
In 1940, Jules-Charles Maignan acquires the Maison. Madeleine Boisset, a longtime apprentice of Georges Duvelleroy, ensures the continuity of the know-how. With her, the young Michel Maignan discovers the world of fan making. Duvelleroy is one of the only fan houses that made it after WWII. During the following decades, selling small leather goods and pouches, as well antique fans and restoring them becomes the key activity of the house.
1981-2009, CHERISHING A HERITAGE
In 1981, Jules-Charles Maignan passes on to his grand-son,Michel Maignan part of the archives of the original Duvelleroy house: fans, tools, material and furniture gathered since 1827. “I give it to you so that you can make something out of it”, his grand-father had said. During the following decades, this patrimony is presented in many retrospective exhibits around fan making: in 1986 at the Galliera museum; in 1995, in England, with the Duvelleroy Exhibition: King of Fans, Fan-maker to Kings and more recently in 2013, at the Arts Décoratifs Library in Paris.
2010, CREATIVE RENEWAL, THE AWAKENING OF A SLEEPING BEAUTY
In 2010, Michel Maignan partners with Eloïse Gilles and Raphaëlle Le Baud, the young women passionate with brand heritage and crafts. The awakened Maison conveys the traditional French fan-making savoir-faire in Couture hand-fans whilst embracing the taste of the times through ready-to-wear fans. Miscellaneous objects, such as headdresses and mural wall lamps, enrich the house's universe and come as a reminder that the original Maison had a broad field of expression.
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