Search for content, post, videos

Mairie du XVIe, Paris : Memory of an elegant woman


A fashion exhibition entitled Mémoire d’une élégante is being held until November 25th at the town hall of the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
This exhibition is designed by Laetitia Hedde. She presents it like this:

The “Memory of an Elegant Lady” exhibition pays tribute to a resident of the 16th arrondissement who devoted more than forty years of her life to two prestigious French fashion houses: more than 30 years of loyal service to Lanvin and 12 to the house of Chanel.

Here we approach the history of Fashion through a singular story: that of a woman named Françoise. Through her example, we wish to highlight the important role that the head saleswomen had within fashion houses. Their address book and their clients was impressive, and made them almost untouchable characters, too little known today.

Françoise’s taste in elegance was exquisite. As the leading saleswoman, she advised major French and American families, such as the Rothschild family, the director of the Kodak brand, several wives of Sasha Guitry, the Duchess of Windsor, as well as the first ladies of France – notably Madame Pompidou.

In 2015, on a street corner, I met this exceptional woman. I was wearing a pretty boater hat, and it was thanks to this accessory that we exchanged a few words. Many discussions followed where we got to know each other. From our exchanges a beautiful friendship was born, a strong bond between us. Concerned about her heritage and its conservation, she sent me all her fashion archives as well as her memoirs.

This exhibition contains a large selection of photos of Lanvin models worn by the model Martine (a close friend of Françoise), photos of the Seeberger brothers, dating from the 1930s and representing clients wearing outfits from major Parisian fashion houses such as Worth , the Callot sisters, Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, Lucien Lelong, Coco Chanel, Rochas… Everyday objects, fashion magazines, such as perfume bottles from the house of Guerlain, a makeup bag, jewelry, outfits work clothes, suits, evening dresses, handbags, shoes, everything that makes up the elegant woman’s wardrobe.

In this exhibition, three women are important: Françoise, her mother Yvonne and her best friend, Martine, a great star model of the Lanvin house. They are a trio of women with strong personalities, inseparable and elegant in all circumstances.

Françoise was born on June 4, 1923, and grew up in a loving family. Her mother started work with Jeanne Lanvin in 1911. Who for the birth of Françoise, asked the workers to make a soft toy, a lovely penguin in white and black velvet. Yvonne passed on to her a taste for beautiful things and after obtaining her baccalaureate, Françoise joined the fashion house as a junior saleswoman: she therefore assisted her mother who was the leading saleswoman.

Laetitia Hedde

Laetitia Hedde is an exhibition curator and tour guide specializing in fashion history with the scientific collaboration of the Palais Galliera.


Mémoire d’une élégante
from November 6 until November 25, 2023 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Mairie du XVIe arrondissement de Paris
71 Av. Henri Martin
75016 Paris, France

Create an account or log in to read more and see all pictures.

Install WebApp on iPhone
Install WebApp on Android