Founded in 1945 by Carmen de Tomasso (a.k.a. Madame Carven — soon-to-be 104 years old and still alive and stylish!), French fashion house Carven originally specialised in modern clothing for hip, young Parisienne women. With Madame Carven’s retirement (at the age of 84, no less), the brand too seemed to have gone quietly into retirement. Fortunately, the house got a second lease of life in 2009 with the appointment of game-changing designer Guillaume Henry (a Givenchy and Paul Ka alumni). Thanks to Henry’s critically-acclaimed creative direction and fresh, preppy-cool RTW creations, Carven is again riding the wave of popularity.
It is said that Carven dresses always come with a wink, so make this delightful piece—featuring the smoothest-ever silk fabric and a queenly postage stamps pattern—your go-to look for unique styling. Play to the ladylike aesthetic with a little black cardi and pointy pumps, wearing your hair up to showcase the cool collar.
South Korean sweetheart Son Ye Jin in Carven.
After just one season under Henry, distribution for the once nearly forgotten house of Carven grew from 70 to 180 retailers (including 10 Corso Como, Colette, Dover Street Market and Opening Ceremony). When the most influential fashion women are not only wearing it (Alexa Chung, Natalie Massenet), but telling everyone how much they love it, you’ve got to know the label is seriously happening.
Guillaume Henry's No.1 fan Alexa Chung wears her favourite Carven dress in the series opening of 24 Hour Catwalk (Lifetime, Astro Ch 709, every Wednesday 8pm).
Expanding to keep pace with rapid growth: Carven's newly opened flagship store in Omotesando, Tokyo is its biggest to date.