1880 - 1936, French fashion designer

Jean Patou is one of the grandest and most revered names in couture.

Born in the French region of Normandy, young Jean's father was a successful and prosperous tanner. In the year 1907, at the age of 27, the creatively gifted Jean Patou joined his uncle's business as a furrier, where he learned his trade in the difficult medium of fur, and developed his opulent and high-class style.

Patou's first salon was the Maison Parry, in Paris, which he opened in the year 1912. His designs, firmly intended for Europe's old money elite were an instantanous hit. The very next year, in 1913, Maison Parry sold it's entire collection to a US buyer.

The first world war intervened. Patou went to war, returned safe, and established himself as a fine couturier in the year 1919.

In 1929 the great stock market crash bankrupted many of Patou's wealthy clients. Patou, seeing the downturn in his House's business and the general economic funk that his once happy clients were in, undertook to develop a fragrance, his House's first, that would blow the doom and gloom away. "Joy" was created from an exuberance of jasmine and May roses, ylang-ylang and tuberose. Packaged in a bottle suggestive of a cut diamond (Louis Sue designed the original bottle in 1930), the fragrance became a worldwide favourite, and remains so to this day.

In latter years, both Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier have designed for the House of Patou.

Address: 7 Rue Saint Florentin, 75001 Paris, France


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