Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the ceremony of the remisedes insignes of Commander in the order of the Legion of Honour in MarchLouise Carven-Grog, Officer in the Order of the Legion of Honour to Paco Rabanne and Chevalier in the Order of the Legion of Honour to Claude Brouet.
Dear Marie-Louise Carven,
“There’s no fashion if she doesn’t walk down the street,” Coco said.
Chanel. You have reached, dear Marie-Louise Carven, not only
what fashion goes down in the street, but also to what fashion
flourishes and radiates throughout the world. Modellist
inspired, talented creator, art lover, you have never stopped
show your passion for creation and culture.
Your gifts manifest in your teens: your creativity
brings you to create clothes with pieces of fabric
Passionate about fashion, you decide to dedicate your life to it.
You brilliantly study at the School of Fine Arts and complete
your training with your brother-in-law, the architect Robert Mallet-
Your career begins with the audacity and inventiveness that you
show so well. In 1945, encouraged by your friends, you
open your own fashion house. By inventing your brand,
Carven, you create a fashion in your own image – young, attractive,
fresh - perfect expression of the modern woman, based on your
Your approach is absolutely innovative:
cutting edge with high style stitching, your creations are realistic and
adapted to everyday life, redefining the boundaries of fashion. From
1945, the use of the famous green and white stripe, emblem of the
Carven claw, as well as pink Vichy, bring a refreshing drop
to this universe.
Anxious to put fashion in reality, you will, unlike the
most fashion designers, dedicate your creations to small women.
Restoring importance to proportions, playing with the cut of your
clothes, you lengthen the silhouettes, highlight the necklines.
Combining fashion and life, you create models for the practice of
sport in each of your collections. You were an ideal match for
pragmatism, beauty in utility, imagining, before each creation, the
the context, the time that will be attached to it. You are
1950 The Balconnet, mischievous neckline, whose immense success was not
You are also innovative in the art of communication. Thus, in 1954,
on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris, you
release hundreds of samples of the Ma Griffe perfume,
attached to small green and white parachutes, daily poetry that
enchants Parisians, manifestation of this elegant charm that you
Your openness and curiosity make you discover new
horizons: you are the first seamstress to travel the world
with your models. Your multiple trips are a source for you
inexhaustible of inspiration: you are the first to use fabrics
from African boubous to Indonesian batiks and
Aztec motifs. You come back amazed and more innovative than
never. In 1947, back from South America, you launch La Robe
Samba», soaked with sunshine. Mexico inspires you with its colours
for your 1951 collection, adopted by all stars
of the world, you have as customers
empresses, queens, princesses, artists like Edith
Piaf, Michèle Morgan, Micheline Presle, Martine Carol, and Leslie
Caron... You embody wonderful optimism radiating years
50, these roaring fifties which are also the hour of glory of a certain cinema.
Passionate about travel, you are interested in hostess uniforms
air, which you wish to embellish. You manage, with finesse, to combine
functional a delicate and distinguished elegance. Your department
«Carven Uniformes», created in 1965, rises quickly, in front of the influx
requests from airlines, in the first place on the
market for creative uniforms. And you draw the uniforms of a
15 airlines, including Air India and Air France. You
also design and make outfits worn by athletes
at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Carven House,
it’s a bit like the “place of memory” of French fashion. Your trajectory,
it is also that of a French woman with American destiny.
But it’s your love of art and philanthropy that sets you apart.
Passionate about works of art, you carried out, in 1973, with your
second husband, the great collector René Grog, the largest donation
which the Louvre Museum has never benefited from. Remarkable collection of
furniture and art objects of the 18th century, it is composed of 70
major works, including a chest of drawers from the old collection of
baron Albert de Goldschmidt-Rothschild in Frankfurt, without equivalent in
the national collections, or the 3 furniture of the cabinetmaker Joseph
Baumhauer. This collection also includes tapestries
and paintings, including the masterpiece The Virgin in Majesty
from the Master to the embroidered foliage. This is so in your honor, and for
thank you for this exceptional gesture you are making towards our
The Louvre Museum inaugurated the Grog-Hall in 1997,
Carven in the art department. It’s also with this
same concern for the transmission that you donated a collection
unique porcelain from China at the Guimet Museum.
Your eyes are also set on the future. So in 2000, you create, in
by René Grog, the Grog-Carven Association, which
discover young talents in the fields of art history and
fashion. The Grog-Carven Arts Grant is designed to help future
professionals in these fields. Aware that the future will
built also in the mirror of the past, you donate to the Galliera Museum,
Fashion Museum of the City of Paris, from the entire archive of your
fashion house, more than 80 outfits.
Your creativity and commitment have already been many times
The Legion of Honour (Officer), the National Order of Merit
(Commander) and the Grand Donator Gold Medal of the Louvre Museum
have paid tribute to your dedication to French culture and to
your contribution to the influence of France in the world. The Museum
Galliera organizes a retrospective for your jubilee A half century
from your donation, an exhibition entitled
Madame Carven, great designer, where everyone, and especially
personalities of the world of haute couture, honor you. And it’s with
I would also like to mention this tribute - to which I have
assisted - by the French Couture Federation which took place on the occasion
in the gardens of the Galliera Museum.
True incarnation of French and international fashion, you have
imposed the Carven style all over the world, this unique style combining
freshness, youth and freedom. Eternal girl, you are
dedicated with happiness and passion to creation, with the sole aim
to embellish the woman, you have managed to combine fashion with
verb appear but also with the auxiliary being.
Dear Marie-Louise Carven, on behalf of the President of the Republic and in
by virtue of the powers vested in us, we make you a commander
of the Legion of Honor.
Dear Paco Rabanne,
Genius creator, futuristic inventor, bold demiurge, you are,
as we call you, the “Jules Verne of couture”. For 40 years,
you dare, intrigue, fascinate the whole world. Visionary on the path
You have marked all the
spirits, influenced all trends, revolutionized, in a word, fashion
yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Very young, you are marked by the painful history of countries
In 1938, the son of a Republican father shot by the troops. He
Franquistes, you are 4 years old when your family arrives in France to flee
the military regime.
In 1952, you successfully integrated the National School of Fine Arts in
the idea of becoming an architect. This is where you develop, with a talent
already noticed, your pronounced taste for volumes and light, your
constant search for new materials. Thirsty for knowledge,
you immerse yourself in the ideas of your time and arouse your curiosity
in contact with the masters. Your plastic artist gifts are very fast
In 1963, you were awarded the Biennale de Paris with a
living sculpture for garden, exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art.
Your desire to learn is unalterable and you have acquired a culture
which allows you to detach yourself, little by little, from all these
influences that have enriched you. To finance your studies, you
designs of jewelry and accessories for prestigious designers
as Courrèges, Balenciaga or Dior. As early as 1959, the Woman’s Wear Daily
publishes a series of seven dresses with very clean geometric lines,
inspired by another famous Basque, Cristobal Balenciaga, whose mother
was a first of workshop. Your creations seduce the great designers such
that Maggy Rouff, Pierre Cardin, Givenchy... Your donations make you very
quickly penetrate the very closed circle of Haute-Couture.
Concerned with detail, you give accessories a place of choice: this
are, for you, works in their own right that will not cease to stimulate
your creativity. Inspired by Pop Art, you create, in 1965, Les Pacotilles,
these accessories designed in rhodoïd, making you the echo of the readymade
and pop culture. These jewelry accessories, including earrings
ears will be an unprecedented success, and propel your name
on the international stage. The signature «Paco Rabanne» appears: a
great designer was born.
Your ascension and your creativity will know no limits.
On February 1, 1966, your First Manifesto Collection is presented at
George V Hotel, it will be a revelation: 12 dresses Importables en
contemporary materials», embellished with sequins and plates in
Rhodoïd, you place as heir of the Dada and Panic movements. This
are Dresses-Manifests, you say, as in literature, there are
manifests. It is by pushing some experiments very far that we arrive
You’ve managed to deal with it.”
what realists have done with literature: to question it,
revolutionize it. Your audacity never ceases to break conventions: the
second collection will be presented in unusual places (theatre of
Vieux-Colombier, Crazy horse) and will be the subject of performances like the
from the dancer Bianca Li to the rituals inspired by the Maari.
You will gradually dynamite the traditions, turning your back on
postures from the seam, emancipating the garment from the
civilization, fabric and pretence. Your technical mastery is a
art, your experiments a revolution. Goodbye thread and needles, hello
metallic rivets and fantasy. It all starts with the use of plastic,
popular material, but it is the metal that quickly becomes your material
emblematic, which will earn you from Coco Chanel, the nickname
“metallurgist”. With this discomfort material, you upset the
concept of adornment and write your fashion designer approach in that of
the architect. The garment, transfigured by your unique look, becomes
the plastic expression of his time.
Through your gifts, you reveal the magic of objects. Pioneer in the art of
recycling, exploring new technologies, your winks at
art history are numerous and you enter into harmony with the
experimentations of the artists you frequent. Your clothes are made
the echo of the Calder Stabiles, the Soto Vibrations and Penetrable, the
cuts of Caesar. You are one of the first to have caught the air of
time as an artistic signature, creating new ways
to be. Breaking conventions, you open the way to a fashion of art and
independent and committed test, a fashion that breaks the taboo of
elegance, a fashion that foreshadows the conceptual shift adopted by
creators of the 21st century.
Thanks to your talent, fashion becomes an art that dialogue with others
artistic fields. Your models are acquired by art museums
contemporary as the Moma of New York, presented in the galleries
avant-garde... You create, brilliantly, theatre costumes, like
for «Par-delà les marronniers» by Jean-Michel Ribes or models
for cinema, such as in «Two or three things I know about her»
by Jean-Luc Godard. With you, music, cinema and theatre dialogue
with fashion. The biggest models, such as Dree Hemingway,
great-granddaughter of the writer, and the most famous women of the time
– Jane Fonda, Audrey Hepburn, Françoise Hardy – wearing your outfits that
consecrate them as amazons, sure of their seduction and free from
Your creative mind, sometimes even prophetic, exceeds all the
borders, always conquering new horizons.
Dedicated artist, you have helped to raise fashion to the rank of the arts
to promote French fashion in the world. You have
marked your time, while looking to the future with confidence.
Nonconformist, bold and free, you have «revolutionized» fashion,
translating the prophecy of André Breton: Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or
will not be».
Dear Paco Rabane, we bestow upon you the officer insignia of the
Legion of Honour.
Dear Claude Brouet,
Fashion is what you wear. What’s old-fashioned is what you wear
the others». [Oscar Wilde]. And yet, you have shown throughout
that fashion did not always combine with
the Narcisse complex. You are indeed what is called a figure
fashion. With your eyes, you are the one who reveals the news
trends, those who discover new talents, those who, through their
feather, builds the successes of tomorrow.
Fashion is a real vocation for you. At 3 years old, you attend
your first parade, dazzled by this universe. From a very young age,
you are immersed in the world of fashion: your mother is director of the
sewing at Schiaparelli, then Jacques Fath and Lanvin, and your father
decorator. With this passion that characterizes you, you decide to take
drawing classes after your baccalaureate, then you register for
the School of the Louvre. But it is chance that leads you, in 1950, instead
to work for the magazine Vive la mode.
You learn the basics of the profession of fashion journalist,
student with finesse, analyzing brilliantly, succeeding in transcribing this art
singular where the evanescent can become timeless.
In 1953, you join the prestigious magazine Elle founded in 1945 by
Hélène Gordon-Lazareff. As an editor, you create a section
entirely devoted to ready-to-wear, which, in your opinion, opens up the future.
Your success is dazzling: you are appointed deputy director then
director of the fashion section. You attend with happiness, in the
50-60 years, to this renewal, to this «revolution of ready-to-wear»,
symbol of changing attitudes. You exercise your
as a fashion journalist with the enthusiasm that characterizes you.
Together with your team, you play an important role in discovering and supporting
young creators and new trends.
In 1971, you joined Marie-Claire magazine and became an editor in
head of the “central part” of the newspaper, which includes the
fashion, beauty and culinary art. With finesse and intelligence, you
Lead a team of 12, and you will find it a great pleasure.
You will then reveal young creators of the time, who are
today of the great names of fashion. Your modesty brings you
and yet there are many: Kenzo, Sonia
Rykiel, Jean-Paul Gaultier... Some of them opened their first
after showing their creations in the «fashion» pages of
Marie-Claire, under your elegant and precious pen.
Journalism has a cultural dimension for you: it is a mirror of the
world, he is also an actor of change. The magazine Marie-Claire,
in its “fashion” pages, has always been committed to helping women
find their own style. Together with your collaborators, you
the relay of major societal issues, and particularly those related to
the evolution of the status of women, strongly defending the point of view
of feminists. The qualities of this monthly, to which you have so
were rewarded in 1987 on the stage of
Opera Garnier: Marie-Claire receives the Oscar for Best Fashion Magazine.
The total editorial freedom you enjoy, in Elle or Marie-
Claire, allows you to be at the heart of this «beautiful time» of fashion and
to play an essential role in the social transformations that
In January 1988, at the exit of a Christian Lacroix show, you are
“kidnapped”, as you say with humour, by Jean-Louis Dumas,
the president of Hermès, who is conquered by your gifts. You have not
the intention to change profession but this proposal gives a new
start your professional career. Eager to learn, you leave
Marie-Claire for Hermès where you become artistic director of ready-to-wear.
You have such talented stylists working there and
as Tan Giudicelli, Thomas Maier, Marc Audibert, Myrène de
Prémonville, Mariot Chanet. You want to give a «sport» style to the
Maison Hermès and develop a range of leather clothing. Curious,
observer, you discover, passing on the other side of the mirror, the reverse
of the setting: the revealing you have been becomes a real actress.
Modest and discreet, you have trouble accepting to be put forward,
especially when presenting the collections. You then live with
the exhilaration of the parades, these 20 minutes which represent 6 months of
work, those 20 minutes you have to please, those 20 minutes that
offer you the spotlight light after long hours spent
in the secret of the workshop.
You have contributed to the influence of this French art in the world, this
art that shapes such a singular landscape, such a special universe that has
little secrets for you. By your pen and by your look, you have
helped make fashion a fixed moment in the imagination, the
mark of an epoch as much as the figure of a "rediscovered time", the
of women and femininity.
Dear Claude Brouet, on behalf of the President of the Republic and
of the powers vested in us, we make you a knight of the
Legion of Honour.