Lolita Lempicka - Fashion Designer Encyclopedia



French fashion designer

Family: Married to business partner Joseph-Marie; children: Elisa. Career: Showed first collection, 1984; introduced Lolita Bis junior line, 1987; introduced signature leather collection and lines of knitwear, jewelry, and glasses; ready-to-wear designer, Cacharel. Awards:

Lolita Lempicka, fall/winter 2001-02 ready-to-wear collection: leather slip dress. © AP/Wide World Photos.
Lolita Lempicka, fall/winter 2001-02 ready-to-wear collection: leather slip dress.
© AP/Wide World Photos.
Package of the Year award, 1998. Address: c/o Leonor International, 78 Avenue Marceau, 75008 Paris, France.

Publications

On LEMPICKA:

Articles

Hochswender, Woody, "Young French Designers Stretch Fashion's Rules," in the New York Times, 19 October 1990.

"Accent on Comfort: A Parisian Designs with Real Lives in Mind," in the Chicago Tribune, 12 January 1992.

Solis, Robbin Raskin, "Liquid Memory," in Harper's Bazaar, November 1998.

"Package of the Year 1998 and the Winner Is…" in Global Cosmetic Industry (New York), December 1998.

* * *

Pert, gamine, nostalgic, playful: these are just some of the words used to describe Lolita Lempicka collections. Since her debut in 1984, she has reintroduced a discarded Parisian elegance to fashion. Although her look is of the moment, young and modern, it has often echoed 1940s themes and styling: turbans, pearl chokers, tiny floral prints on viscose crêpes, piping, polka dots teamed with tiny stripes, contrast trims, pearl trims, and wedged shoes. Even the sepia-colored tones used in a distinctive promotional booklet for her 1991 spring-summer collection suggest the discovery of a utility frock, produced to the British government's austere guidelines for goods in World War II, in grandmother's attic, and the subsequent restyling and alteration of the garment to give it a naughtier, more risqué 1990s feel.

Lempicka places greatest importance on the use of meticulous detailing and the finest materials from international textile manufacturers. She is renowned for her precise and exquisitely-cut tailored suits that are never hard-edged but gently flatter the customer. Her look is very French, and she was the first of a new generation of female designers to emerge in Paris during the 1980s. Myréne de Premonville, Martine Sitbon, and Sophie Sitbon were others who promoted a fresh Parisian femininity with a classical base.

Lempicka's business has expanded into several areas since its inception. She created a junior diffusion line, Lolita Bis, in 1987, designed for nice and naughty young girls. She dedicated the line to her daughter, Elisa, whom she described as both "cute and feminine," like the Lolita Bis image. The company expanded rapidly in the international marketplace as well, aided by two agreements for fabrication and distribution; one with the Guy Laroche group for the main line collection and the other with the CGP group for Lolita Bis. She also had contracts with the Rinel group for Lolita Lempicka leather collections and the Italian company Alma for knitwear. Her other lines of jewelry and eyewear are licensed by Kashiyama, which directs Lolita Lempicka boutiques in Japan.

Lempicka sees her customers as ranging from schoolgirls and students, their mothers, and grandmothers. Her clothes need to be interesting and accessible for all ages. She dresses women gently and does not compromise characteristically clever detailing and sculptured cuts to fashion's whims. Her naughty but nice nature, however, doesn't stop at fashion. Tom McGee, a scientist at Givaudon Roure perfume house, released the contradictory licorice fragrance, Lolita Lempicka in 1998. In the U.S., licorice is thought of as the cherry red ropes people love and a candy of tradition; it was just as popular in the

Lolita Lempicka, fall/winter 2001-02 ready-to-wear collection. © AP/Wide World Photos.
Lolita Lempicka, fall/winter 2001-02 ready-to-wear collection.
© AP/Wide World Photos.
1950s as it is today. In France, however, licorice often evokes the anise-flavored liquor commonly served at traditional French cafés and restaurants, hence giving the fragrance its "naughty" edge.

Not long after the naughty-and-nice fragrance was released it won DCI's Package of the Year award for 1998. The award was attributed to the fact that women respond to the scent, whereas other perfumes or colognes on the market were released with the idea of attracting the opposite sex. Described as the "fruit of our dreams," Lolita Lempicka comes in an apple-shaped bottle with the Lempicka name engraved on it—a portrayal of the fine details she puts into her clothing. A combination of licorice flower, anise seeds, amarena, violets, vetiver, and tonka bean, the fragrance complements Lempicka's femininity and playful style.

While Lempicka had some lines that were deemed successful, the Lempicka fragrance has undoubtedly made Lolita Lempicka a name to remember. Because smell is the most primitive sense, scientists believe the scent alone has had a bigger impact on her career than any collection ever could.

—Kevin Almond;

updated by Diana Idzelis

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