Patou, Jean

(1880-1936)
   The French couturier Jean Patou was born in Normandy to a father who was a successful leather tanner and an uncle who owned his own fur business. Patou entered the fashion industry by first working for his uncle. In 1910, he opened his own dressmaking shop, and although his work received international praise, his company failed due to undercapitalization. However, in 1914, he opened a couture house but soon closed when he served in the French regiment during World War I. Patou is best known for his use of the color beige, his love of geometric patterns and, together with Chanel, the "garçonne look." He is also known for his contributions to the design of sports clothing. He even partnered with textile companies to create new fabrics to be worn during various sports activities. In 1925, he opened a special division of his couture business dedicated to different sports such as golf, tennis, horseback riding, and fishing and called it "le coin des sports." Patou was the first designer to place his "JP" monogram on clothing, which was the precursor to the subsequent logo craze. In 1924, his sweaters, inspired by the cubist works of Picasso and Braque, were all the rage and extremely popular on an international level. Perhaps the house of Patou is most known for fragrances, especially the perfume, Joy, which was launched in 1929 and is still considered one of the top ten fragrances in the world. Patou died unexpectedly in 1936 but the company continued with several designers at the helm, including Marc Bohan (1953-1957), Karl Lagerfeld (1958-1963), Michel Goma and his assistant Jean-Paul Gaultier (1963-1974), Angelo Tar-lazzi (1973-1976), Gonzales (1977-1981), and Christian Lacroix (1981-1987). In 1976, the house of Patou designed flight attendant uniforms for the Concorde but, in 1987, it showed its last collection. Upon Lacroix's exit, a legal battle ensued between Lacroix and Patou. Lacroix opened his own company and, by 2002, the fashion side of Patou closed officially. In 2001, Clarins sold the company to Procter and Gamble, where the company's main focus was on fragrances. In 2006, Patou launched a new fragrance, Sira des Indes, to add to its stable of women's fragrances: Joy, 1000, Sublime, and Enjoy.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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